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Demand for Nurses
Nurses may be the most in-demand health care position in the country.

work-study program receives $200,000 donation

November 11th, 2010

KeyBank has donated $200,000 to Albany Medical Center (AMC) to help employees obtain their nursing degrees.

The donation will support the Grow Our Own (GOO) work-study program, which is designed to help AMC employees become registered nurses. Since its inception in 2002, GOO has addressed the shortage of these professionals in the region.

GOO participants are full-time employees, and receive tuition reimbursement as well as paid time off to study and attend classes. In return, they agree to work at AMC for up to four years following their graduation.

Both AMC, the region’s largest private employer, and KeyBank understand the importance of investing in a quality workforce. Since the program’s inception in 2002, KeyBank has been a valued partner.

“Economic self-sufficiency is the cornerstone of our philanthropic giving,” said Jeffrey Stone, president, Capital Region KeyBank N.A.. “We are pleased to continue our support of this exceptional program.”

At this time, 124 employees are currently enrolled in the work-study nursing program, while 54 nurses have graduated to date.

AMC is currently undergoing a $360 million expansion project, which is expected to generate 1,000 new permanent positions – many of them for nursing. 

Schools unite to offer nursing program

November 11th, 2010

Coastal Carolina University has announced the launch of a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) completion program in collaboration with Horry-Georgetown Technical College (HGTC).

The three-semester, 33-credit program is for nurses who have obtained an associate nursing degree and are licensed in South Carolina.

Upon completion of the program, students will earn a BSN and be eligible to apply for graduate-level study in nursing.

Pat A. Bohannan, associate professor and director of nursing, developed the program in response to the “urgent need” for the classes in the region. “The hospitals want it, and the nurses want it,” he said.

The nursing program was approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and the Southern Association of College and Schools, and school officials are in the process of seeking approval from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

Classes are set to begin in January 2011 at HGTC’s Grand Strand campus. Saturday classes are also being offered to accommodate the schedules of working nurses.

The need for new nursing programs reflects the expected rise in patients in need of care, which has been predicted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

New Jersey nursing program receives $600,000 grant

November 10th, 2010

The Helene Fuld Health Trust (HFHT) has awarded a grant of $600,000 to the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s (UMDNJ) nursing program.

Half of the grant money will go toward scholarships for students who are enrolled in the school’s bachelor's of nursing degree (BND) program, while the other half will be held as a permanent endowment fund.

The annual income from the donation will yield perpetual scholarships, reflecting the HFHT’s goal to support and promote the health, welfare and education of nursing students.

"This grant will help us to fulfill our mission as we support the outstanding baccalaureate program offered to future nurses at the UMDNJ-School of Nursing,” said Marianne Caskran, HFHHT grants administrator.

Susan Salmond, dean and professor at the school, explained that many of the students are adults who have already earned an academic degree and exhausted their financial aid options. It is her belief that the grant will open up “new avenues” for individuals who wish to become nurses.

UMDNJ’s accelerated, 15-month BND is for individuals who already hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree in another subject, according to school officials.

University of Delaware to launch doctoral nursing program

November 9th, 2010

The University of Delaware (UD) recently announced that it will begin offering a doctoral nursing degree program in the fall 2011 semester.

The three-to four-year nursing program is aimed at individuals wishing to prepare for careers in the academic or research fields and healthcare settings.

The program will be the first doctoral program for Delaware residents.

Those enrolled in the program will receive individualized attention in a small cohort, and will be immersed in the research process through assistantships on funded studies.

Students will not only benefit from interdisciplinary resources at UD, but from partner institutions in the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance.

According to Kathleen Schell, interim director of the UD school of nursing, the program will “contribute to the preparation of future nurse scholars” who will “educate the next generation of nurses.”

Schell states that nearly 93 percent of current faculty openings require applicants to have a PhD.

To apply, individuals must have a BSN from an accredited college or university and an MS in nursing or another discipline within the health field. Applicants must have also completed a minimum of three credits undergraduate and graduate-level statistics. 

Proposed healthcare repeal could mean changes for those seeking nursing degrees

November 8th, 2010

Reuters reports that Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is calling on fellow Republicans to “repeatedly” vote on a straight repeal of President Obama’s healthcare bill – a move that could mean big changes for those currently or potentially seeking nursing degrees.

In an address to the Heritage Foundation, McConnell admitted that any Republican legislation would likely be vetoed by the President or blocked by Senate Democrats. However, that would not stop them from denying funds for implementation, and voting against the bill’s “most egregious provisions.”

According to MedHunters.com, in its current state, the healthcare bill allocates funding for nurse-managed clinics to cover the predicted increase in patients. To encourage entry into the nursing profession, the bill also increases funding for nursing education – including associate's, bachelor’s and advanced nursing degrees.

Repealing and replacing the healthcare bill are among the GOP’s primary legislative goals, and Senate majority leader Harry Reid told Reuters he is open to “tweaks”.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2018, and many openings are expected in the field due to an increase in workers' median age. 

10 Biggest Pregnancy Myths Debunked

November 7th, 2010

People have been providing pregnant women with all kinds of advice – welcome and unwelcome, true and superstitious – since the beginning of recorded history (and probably before then, too.) Most moms-to-be are familiar with the seemingly unending list of things they're not supposed to do or should always do offered up by doctors, nurses, mothers-in-law, friends and even people on the street. Yet not all those dos and don'ts, myths and recommendations of pregnancy are necessarily true. Here are some of the biggest pregnancy myths and the truth that underlies them so new moms can make up their own minds about what's fact and what's fiction.

  1. You can't eat fish while pregnant. It's true that some types of fish contain mercury, which can be harmful to both you and your developing baby, and fillets that have been improperly prepared or stored can cause food poisoning. Yet that doesn't mean that women should avoid all fish during pregnancy. If it was as harmful as this myth leads pregnant women to believe, there'd be a lot more trouble with child birthing in places like Japan where fish-based dishes are a common practice. Instead of eliminating all fish from your diet, eat smart and stick to smaller fish and those that have been frozen first to kill any parasites that could make you sick. Fish are packed with valuable Omega-3 fatty acids that will enhance the development of the baby's brain and help you from going into premature labor. If you're still uncomfortable with the idea, stock up on fish oil supplements instead.
  2. Dying your hair while pregnant will hurt the baby. In times past, this myth may have been entirely true. But since the 1980's, hair dyes have been free from the many of the harmful substances that could injure your developing baby. Of course, each brand is different and some will contain more ingredients you'll feel safer avoiding than others, so you'll need to shop around or ask a professional for help. The greatest risk of exposure to the child is during the first trimester, and most doctors will green light hair coloring from the second trimester on. If you seek out eco-friendly and non-toxic dyes, you should be able to dye your hair without worry throughout your pregnancy – though these vegetable-based solutions may not last as long. If you want to avoid chemicals contacting your scalp, switch to simple highlights or lowlights, which can be applied without touching your scalp. With so many options these days, women don't have to give up looking good to keep their babies healthy.
  3. Carrying high means a girl, carrying low means a boy. This is one of the most widely spread myths about pregnancy and one that is based on absolutely zero medical evidence. It gets passed on because, very often, it is right. But that's not because it's sound from a scientific standpoint. That's because it has a fifty-fifty chance of being right, pretty good odds when you think about it. Studies have shown that there is no scientific merit to this myth, but that's unlikely to stop its repetition. Moms-to-be should just keep in mind that there's no way to tell the sex of a bay without and ultrasound or until he or she is actually born. The shape of your belly is determined by your muscle tone and how close you are to delivery, not the sex of the baby.
  4. Babies should be kept indoors after birth. There are many people out there who believe that babies should be kept indoors for the first few months after birth to protect them from the elements and any potential illness they might contract. The reality is, they have just as much of a chance of getting sick inside the home as out – especially if you have a lot of guests coming to see your little one. Your baby will be born with an immune system in place, but it does take some time to develop fully, so make sure anyone who touches your baby washes their hands first and keep the little one away from those who are sick. As long as you bundle your little one up if it's chilly out, avoid big crowds where your child could be coughed or sneezed on and use your common sense, you should feel safe taking your baby with you anywhere and everywhere.
  5. You shouldn't take baths or go swimming while you are pregnant. It's unclear whether this myth is rooted in the fear that women will contract an infection or because, more ridiculously, that she'll drown the baby by submerging herself in water above the waist. Both fears, however, have no scientific evidence to back them up, and healthy pregnant women should feel free to swim and bathe as they see fit. The only time pregnant women should skip the submersion? When the water is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and in cases where she has lost the mucus plug protecting her baby – which could invite infection. Women may even find that taking a bath or getting in the pool helps them relieve some the stress carrying around that extra baby weight puts on their bodies.
  6. Pregnant women shouldn't sleep on their backs. This myth states that pregnant women cannot sleep on their backs because it will close off the blood flow to the uterus and slowly kills the developing baby. It is true that laying on your back to sleep can cause reduced blood flow. Will this kill your baby or cause permanent damage? It's incredibly unlikely. A pregnant woman's body warns her of decreased blood flow long before it can become an issue, making her uncomfortable enough to change positions. A pregnant woman who has a healthy pregnancy should feel free to lay however she feels comfortable, including on her back, without worrying about any long-term damage to her child. After all, if laying on your back was so bad, why would women deliver babies that way in the hospital?
  7. Avoiding spicy food will help protect your baby. If spicy foods meant premature labor or trouble for a developing baby, then women in a wide range of cultures around the world would be in a lot of trouble. Spicy food is perfectly safe for women to eat no matter where they are in their pregnancy and will not send them into labor, impede development or in any way harm the baby's skin. The only real side effect from eating spicy foods? Heartburn. Many women already suffer from it and spicy foods can make it worse. If they don't bother you then feel free to eat away.
  8. Lotions can help prevent stretch marks. Think rubbing that cocoa butter or vitamin E lotion on your belly will prevent stretch marks? No matter what advertisements on TV tell you, this simply isn't the case. While the lotion might help soothe your skin as it is pulled taut by you rapidly expanding mid-section, it won't keep those stretch marks at bay. The only factor that determines whether or not you'll get stretch marks is your genetics. Some people will have skin that's elastic enough to stretch without damage and others will get highly visible marks even when they're carrying a small baby. While it won't hurt to put lotion on your belly, the best it can do is to help keep your skin moisturized and as healthy as possible so you'll lessen the impact of any scarring that might occur.
  9. Pregnant women should avoid travel. This myth is two-pronged. For airline travel, some think that the x-rays and sensors of airport security systems will harm the baby. The amount of X-ray radiation used is incredibly minimal and should not hurt you or your developing child. Secondly, some people think women just shouldn't travel at all while pregnant. If you can't bear to think of a nine month hiatus from going pretty much anywhere other than to run simple errands, then you're in luck since this is just another pregnancy myth. Up until 34 weeks, healthy women with a normal pregnancy should feel free to travel just as if they're not pregnant. This limit isn't because it isn't safe to travel afterwards, but because you probably don't want to end up giving birth while away from home and your own doctor or somewhere where there might not be immediate medical care. Like a plane, for instance.
  10. You shouldn't pet your cat while pregnant. This pregnancy myth is rooted in good intentions, as contact with cat litter can cause a woman to contract a parasite known as toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can cause serious deformities in a developing fetus, so pregnant women should enjoy a blissful nine months of getting someone else to do the work. Other interactions with your cat, however, should be perfectly safe. Mothers shouldn't feel wary petting, feeding, playing and cuddling with their cats, especially since they'll soon have little time for them when the new baby arrives. For those who are worried, make sure to wash your hands after contact with your furry friend and you should be in the clear. Additionally, the risk of contracting the illness from an indoor cat is pretty small, as the parasite is transmitted to the cat by eating prey already carrying the parasite– something your cat food only eating cat probably doesn't have to worry about.

What Is a Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse?

November 5th, 2010

In general, hospice care and palliative care operate from the same sort of philosophy: both forms of care seek to provide a patient with relief from whatever pain ails him or her, rather than attempting to cure or treat the cause of the pain. However, in the United States, hospice care refers to end-of-life care, whereas palliative care is more applicable to the care of patients who are suffering from incurable and/or seriously debilitating diseases.

In either case, both forms of care require a special kind of nurse to assist patients, doctors, and family members. A hospice and palliative care nurse should be able to perform the usual duties of a nurse, such as administering medicine and shots and day-to-day care in order to keep the patient physically comfortable. In addition to this, many hospice and palliative care nurses are responsible for managing the patient's entire care plan, from assessing and diagnosing problems to planning and implementing treatment, which may require that the nurse coordinate with other health care institutions and doctors. A hospice and palliative care nurse also assists the doctor who is treating the patient as he or she performs procedures to ease the patient's pain.

However, where hospice and palliative care nurses should be especially skilled is providing relief from mental suffering, especially the suffering that occurs in the face of death or unending illness. Hospice and palliative care nurses should be exceptionally gifted in interacting with other humans, and they should have a clear philosophy that affirms the power of life while also giving importance to dying as a natural human process. By combining strong communication skills and generous sympathy, hospice and palliative care nurses can create a comfortable environment for the patient.

In addition to comforting their patients, hospice and palliative care nurses should be skilled at interacting with family members. They should understand how family members might struggle to adjust to this next stage in their loved one's life. Furthermore, hospice and palliative care nurses should help family members easily navigate treatment and care options for their loved one. A hospice and palliative care nurse will not be alone in this cause, as hospice and palliative care is administered by a variety of professionals; however, he or she should still be extra sensitive and skilled at handling emotional situations.

If you are interested in becoming a hospice and palliative care nurse and believe you have the skills and qualities to be successful in this career path, then you should look into how you could earn such a job. Do plenty of research, including talking to hospice and palliative care nurses, and also look into enrolling in a nursing degree program.

What is a Geriatric Nurse?

November 5th, 2010

The healthcare field accounts for a large portion of the job market, with over 14 million people working in healthcare in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of those workers, over 2 million are nurses, which work in a number of different specialities and departments within the healthcare field. Additionally, over the next several years, the bureau estimates that over 3 million new health care jobs will be added, with nursing jobs accounting for over 500,000 of them. One of those fields are nurses that specialize in geriatric nursing.

A geriatric nurse is a nurse who specializes, works with, and cares for geriatric people, or people that are aging. Caring for the elderly can be extremely complex, because as they age it is very important to keep up with routine tests, protect their health, and teach them to cope with the changes they are experiencing. Due to the complexity, preventative care, and ailing health of aging individuals, they usually require close care and personal attention. Geriatric nurses address physical and mental issues involved with aging people, and work to promote wellness and successful aging as well. They evaluate patients, discuss common issues and health concerns, explain and organize medication for their patients, and help with recommending resources for any outside help needed.

While also providing general care and services to the elderly such as helping with everyday needs, and keeping them comfortable, they must also be able to offer emotional support. While older patients can be a joy to work with, others can be depressed or angry, and at times, isolated from the rest of their family. They must display patience and compassion for patients that suffer from dementia, and other mental health disorders. Geriatric nurses are commonly known to consult and offer help with their patient's families as well as caregivers, if their patient has one.

Geriatric nurses meet the requirements of a registered nurse, but have also taken additional training to qualify them to work with the specific needs of older patients. Their additional training may come from specialized training in geriatrics, a certification in geriatric care, or a gerontological nursing degree. They can work in a number of different settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, home healthcare services, nursing and assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and in private for patients in their homes. In addition geriatric nurses, especially those that work in hospitals, may work closely with physicians and other nurses.

Online study guide provides easier path to becoming a registered nurse

November 5th, 2010

Phelbotomy Career Training (PCT) has introduced the Online Certified Nursing Assistant Training Course (OCNATC) to help student nursing assistants pass the Thompson Prometric CNA test.

The CNA test itself is offered entirely online, in a format that may make some student nursing assistants uncomfortable, according to PCT. The organization believes that access to online study tutorials will lead these individuals to become more comfortable test takers.

All material included in the OCNATC – including tests that closely mimic the CNA test, quizzes, relevant articles and more – are presented in an easy-to-read format. Also included are videos that cover the 21 clinical skills that are addressed in the CNA test.

The OCNATC’s integrated learning process was invented and patented by professor Nancy Kimmel, president of PCT. She said that the ability to provide student nursing assistants with an easier path to a nursing career is the “most wonderful opportunity” she can offer.

Student nursing assistants must pass the CNA test to be listed on the Nurse Aide Registry of a particular state and become eligible for employment. Becoming a certified nursing assistant can be a stepping stone to pursuing a nursing degree or a career as a registered nurse.

10 Strangest Fitness Videos Ever Sold

November 4th, 2010

America is obsessed with fitness and sculpting the perfect figure, and over the years a lot of bizarre exercise and diet trends have surfaced. If you're bored with your regular routine or if you want to give your patients a break from therapy or a workout session, check out these 10 strangest fitness videos ever sold, starring old English ladies to WWF stars.

  1. Easy Fit With Diana Moran: Lovely Englishwoman Diana Moran — dressed like Gumby — invites chaps as well as stressed out ladies to stretch out their faces to release anxiety. Exercises like "The Joker's Smile" frighten and amuse.
  2. It's Simple Darling: Only available in VHS, Zsa Zsa Gabor's fitness video comes with a cover featuring her tiny figure (in massive white tennis shoes) sandwiched between two unitard-wearing beefcakes. Reviewers say Zsa Zsa's in terrible shape, and the workouts barely get you moving.
  3. Gilad: 15 Targeted Express Workout: Gilad Janklowicz also has his own YouTube Channel, but his vintage videos are the best. He takes over Waikiki Beach with his spandex-wearing friends, and his accent is just perfection.
  4. Stephanie Huckabee DVDs: Judging from this YouTube preview the very pretty Stephanie Huckabee's workouts seem fun enough (ignore the editing, they're supposed to show off her well-endowed assets), but she never looks at the camera. In fact, she's always looking at the wrong camera, with a frozen, uncomfortable grin on her face that's less than inspiring if you want to get through a workout.
  5. Yoga 4 Dogs: The doggie yoga trend sort of caught on a few years ago, but we feel like it's a face-biting waiting to happen. At least your pooch would get to work out in its own home, though, instead of being carted off to a studio, like this poor beast.
  6. Body Flex with Greer Childers: This bizarre video is still being sold on Amazon! Another video tape devoted to facial exercises — performed to avoid sagging — Greer shows overly dramatized "work outs" and stretches to "give you a younger look." Called The Lion, you'll have to stick your tongue out while rolling your eyes back in your head and holding your breath. Fried beauty pageant hair not necessary, but Greer thinks you need a whole workout wardrobe for such invigorating exercise.
  7. Cher Fitness: A New Attitude: Cher's 1991 workout video features a saucy but spiritual Cher who admits she's not doing all the exercises properly, or even completing the exercises. That's supposed to be motivation for regular people who are having trouble doing reps and keeping up, but it sounds like Cher just didn't practice enough.
  8. Oxycise! Level One Video Set: Oxygen gets rid of fat, or at least that's what this video preaches. The whole idea is to get enough oxygen into your body to help it lose weight, in 15 minutes or less.
  9. Richard Simmons Dance Your Pants Off!: We had to pick at least one Richard Simmons video, and this one seems totally ridiculous enough for our list. Simmons is joined by men and women of all sizes, who wear their everyday clothes to dance and shout in the background. In the official editorial review, Amazon.com's Joan Price notes that "no moves require much coordination or memory," and that one woman in the video claims to have lost 282 lbs. dancing with Richard.
  10. Chyna Fitness: If you want a little white trash WWF eroticism to motivate you to work out, then we guess this video isn't that strange. After all, Chyna is in great shape and promises to give you the workout of your life with the Chyna Challenge. But she just looks weird doing those warm-ups, and her puns are just awful.