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50 Best Blogs for Healthy Parenting

January 23rd, 2011

By Kitty Holman

As a parent, you want to ensure that you're giving your kids the healthiest and most nutritious upbringing you can, but sometimes balancing work, other commitments and family can be hard – not to mention the challenges of wrangling kids who are picky eaters, have allergies or just don't want to cooperate. What's a busy parent to do? One option is to look to the web for advice. On these blogs, psychologists, nurses, teachers, experts and other parents offer up their advice and guidance on raising happy, healthy kids and keeping yourself in the same condition to boot, so check them out if you're looking for some help.

General Advice

These blogs are full of great advice on a wide range of parenting issues.

  1. Raising a Healthy Family: From dealing with social networking to helping kids eat right, this blog is a one-stop destination for help with healthy parenting.
  2. Mothers in Medicine: These moms work in the medical field, so they're experts on health, but you'll find much more than that on their insightful and heartfelt parenting blog.
  3. Center on Media and Child Health: This blog is an excellent place to read more about how media images may be affecting your children.
  4. Happy Healthy Hip Parenting: You'll find everything from tips on losing your baby weight to how to manage work and parenting on this blog.
  5. dooce: This famous blog written by Heather Armstrong is a great place to find insights into parenting and maybe share a few laughs as well.
  6. The Healthy Moms Magazine: Check out this blogazine for tips on staying healthy and keeping your kids in the same condition as well.
  7. Smart Parents Blog: Here you'll find help with pediatric issues, staying healthy and loads of general information on raising kids.
  8. The Parents Zone: Find inspiration, advice and great articles on a wide range of health and child-rearing topics here.

From the Experts

Check out one of these blogs to seek advice from doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

  1. Schoolkids Healthcare Blog: On this site, you'll get great expert information that can help you keep your kids safe, healthy and happy.
  2. Pediatrics Blog: Dr. Vincent Iannelli maintains this pediatric health blog, a great resource when you're looking for information to keep your kids growing strong.
  3. Pediatric Health Associates: From babies to teens, you'll find a wealth of information to help you be a healthy parent here.
  4. Dr. Gwenn Is In: This pediatrician and mom shares her thoughts on practicing children's medicine, parenting and raising her kids.
  5. Momma Data: Take a critical look at children's health news with Dr. Polly Plumbo on this blog.
  6. Dr. Kristie McNealy: This doctor offers some great tips to help your kids stay healthy all year long.
  7. Dr. Thompson's Blog: Check out this blog to get ideas on keeping your kids safe, getting the health care you need and much more.


If you're looking for some new ideas on getting your kids to eat healthy foods, pay a visit to one of these blogs.

  1. Healthy Child, Healthy World: This blog is a great place to find inspiration on ways you can keep your kids safe from harmful chemicals that may be in their food or household items.
  2. Family Health and Nutrition: Need some help making organic, healthy foods more affordable? Check out the deals featured on this blog.
  3. Nourish Family Nutrition: You'll get a number of healthy, delicious recipes for the whole family on this blog.
  4. A Life Less Sweet: Learn how to cut the sugar out of your family's diet with a little help from this blog.
  5. Nourishing Thoughts: Get news and advice on family nutrition through this extremely helpful blog.
  6. My Kitchen Nutrition: Julie Negrin is a culinary and nutrition educator who shares her expertise on this blog.
  7. Super Kids Nutrition Blog: Want to make your kid a superkid? This blog can give you the nutrition information you'll need to make it happen.

Setting an Example

You can't tell your kids to be healthy if you're not doing it yourself. Here are some blogs that provide great inspiration for being a healthy parent.

  1. Fit Mom's Blog: Whether you're a mom or a dad, you can take some fitness pointers from this blog.
  2. Escape from Obesity: If you're a parent struggling with obesity, take a look at this blog for some inspiration.
  3. Workout Mommy: Learn how this mom keeps fit and finds time for workouts on this site.
  4. The Wii Mommies: Become a tech-savvy and fit parent with help from this blog all about fitness routines through the Wii.
  5. Total Fit Mom: This blog can help you to lose that post-pregnancy weight and get in shape so you can keep up with your kids.

Pregnancy and Babies

These blogs focusing on health for little ones and moms-to-be.

  1. Mama Knows Breast: Visit this blog to learn about the many benefits of breastfeeding your baby.
  2. Pregnancy and Baby: Have questions about pregnancy or your new baby? This blog can help answer them.
  3. Bellies and Babies: This midwife, childbirth educator and doula can inspire you to have a natural childbirth with the stories featured on her blog.
  4. Smart Mommy, Healthy Baby: Read this blog to educate yourself on some of the best ways to stay healthy during your pregnancy and to have a healthy baby after.
  5. Postpartum Progress: If you're struggling with postpartum depression, don't go it alone. Find help and guidance from professionals and some support from the blogger and mom behind this site.
  6. Safe Mama: Wanna keep your babies and kids safe? This site is a great place to find out about recalls and the safest baby products.

Teens and Kids

If your kids are past the baby stage, look to these blogs for help with health issues.

  1. Free Range Kids: Visit this site to get some parenting tips on having great kids without being overbearing.
  2. The Sara Bellum Blog: If you think your teen may be using drugs, read this blog or pass it along.
  3. Growing Healthy Kids: Help your kids eat right and appreciate the healthy things in life with help from this blog.
  4. Parenting Teens: Parenting teens can be rough, but you'll get some great advice and help to guide you through those difficult years here.
  5. Radical Parenting: This blog takes a different approach, offering parenting advice from a kids perspective.

Green Parenting

For many parents out there, healthy parenting means green parenting. Give these blogs a read to help reduce chemicals in your home, learn how to live more sustainably and eat better.

  1. The Green Parent: Learn how to live more sustainably as a whole family with a little information found on this blog.
  2. Natural Papa: This dad celebrates living green and shares some of his own ideas on this site.
  3. Nature Moms Blog: Check out this blog for natural remedies, recipes and ideas for being a more natural parent.
  4. Green Baby Guide: Learn how to waste less, use fewer chemicals and have a more earth-friendly babyhood for your child from this blog.
  5. The Tranquil Parent: This blog offers up some great ideas for raising kids the safe, green and healthy way.
  6. Enviromom: This blog can answer many of your questions when it comes to living more sustainably with kids.
  7. Petite Planet: Here, you'll find some great resources for taking care of babies and kids without using environmentally-harmful products.

Illnesses and Conditions

If your child is suffering from allergies, asthma, or behavioral disorders, give these blogs a read to learn how to better care for your little ones.

  1. Please Don't Pass the Nuts: If you're raising a child with a nut allergy, this blog is a must read for learning the best ways to keep him or her healthy.
  2. The Allergic Kid: Visit this blog to get some seriously yummy recipes that don't contain dairy, nuts, shellfish, red meat or eggs.
  3. Asthma Mom: Learn how to keep your asthmatic child healthy no matter where you live with help from this blog.
  4. EBD Blog: It can be tough knowing how to deal with a kid with an emotional and behavioral disorder, but this blog can provide some seriously helpful insights.
  5. Allergy Moms: From peanuts to dust mites, this blog will keep you in the know about all the latest allergen news.

Surviving Your First Year as a Critical Care Nurse

January 21st, 2011

No matter what type of nurse you are, your very first year will be bring on new and challenging experiences that nursing school mostly likely did not prepare you for. Especially if you are a critical care nurse, your first year can be exceptionally demanding and overwhelming. In fact, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, about 13 percent of all new critical care nurses change units or switch professions all together after their first year. While you may not want to be a part of these statistics, it can happen if you are unaware of what to expect your first year. Continue reading below to get some insight of how your first year will be and to learn some key survival tips that will hopefully make your first year a successful one.

The very first thing you will endure is orientation. This can last up to just a few weeks or even months depending on the facility's procedures regarding new hires. During orientation, you will mostly likely feel as though you are still a nursing student—this is a "learning" segment and you will be doing more observing than actual direct-patient treatment. You will shadow other nurses and learn who your preceptor is. At this time ask tons of questions so that you can familiarize yourself with specific health care protocols and procedures. Once you're on your own, the environment will be very fast-paced (especially in understaffed facilities) and you don't want to risk making mistakes because you're overwhelmed. So pay very close attention to what your superiors/trainers say and take notes if need be. It's also important that you continue to ask questions throughout the entire first year—remember you're still theoretically in training since you will basically learn something new every day.

After a few weeks you will be released on your own. During this time you will be assigned an array of different duties, including distributing medication and treatment, recording medical histories and consulting with other physicians and health care professionals. While you may be accustomed to doing only a set of duties it's important that you prepare yourself for the unexpected. Meaning, you might have to put in more hours on some days because of additional paperwork that needs to be filled out or a patient who is under your care codes literally 5 minutes before your shift is over.

During your first year you will also learn that many of the other nurses are a lot older and can sometimes be "set in their ways," making it difficult for some of the younger RN's to get close to them. So just be prepared for age gaps and personality conflicts.

Lastly, be prepared for good days and bad. You may feel like a hero one day, and then like a failure the next. It's highly important that no matter what you try to stay positive and don't doubt your nursing skills. And always try to find time to unwind and de-stress, even if it's something as simple as taking time to enjoy your whole lunch break.

What Nursing School Doesn’t Teach you

January 21st, 2011

Nursing school will undoubtedly give you the basic knowledge and skills you need to get your foot in the door as an RN, but there are number scenarios and situations that your nursing education will not prepare you for. Most of these things can unfortunately only be learned through personal experience. However, below are just a few things you can expect to experience as a RN that nursing school doesn't teach you.

Fist let it be said that you will mostly likely have to treat patients with illnesses and perform procedures that you have never heard of before. And that's ok. During your first year you will be in-training and it's vital that you take this time to learn new protocols. It's just important that you always speak up and ask questions if you need help or are unsure of what to do. But be aware that even if you approach more experiences healthcare professionals with your questions, sometimes they won't have the answers.

Another thing that nursing school doesn't teach you is that despite your efforts to do everything just right, one day you will make a mistake. It's inevitable. But just remember that nurses are human and as long as your patient is safe, and you document and learn from this error so it never occurs again, you should be in ok shape. While on a similar topic, nursing school doesn't really prepare you for the emotional repercussions you may experience when you lose your first patient. Again, losing a patient is inevitable as well. It's just important that you are not too hard on yourself, but don't be ashamed to be upset either.

Nursing school also doesn't teach you that if you work in a hospital contractually you will be obligated to work a set number of holidays. Some hospitals let you choose which holidays you want to work, others determine that for you.

Lastly, nursing school doesn't tell you that it's ok to take a break from using medical terminology every now and then. You want your patients to truly understand what's going on so break it down for them in layman's terms. Even with fellow nurses, if they seem confused explain to them what you're saying without medical terms, and the reinforce it with the scientific names so they understand and learn something new.

Liability Issues for School Nurses

January 21st, 2011

Working as a school nurse can be a very rewarding profession if you love helping children. However, because of the fact that you work in a school setting, you are subject to specific liability issues—administrative, civil, and criminal. Continue reading below to learn more about these specific liability issues and to learn how you can avoid them. After all, you don't want to risk losing your job, or worse—you license indefinitely.

When a school nurse is referred to their state's board of nursing to be investigated because of possible failure to meet state practice standards, this is called Administrative liability. If the school nurse is found at fault, he or she can be penalized in several different ways, including the temporary or permanent suspension of their nursing license.

On the other hand, school nurses are subject to civil liability when the question of negligence is brought to court. This particular type of liability is not resolved if there is proof of intent to harm. Instead, one is disciplined if there is proof that the school nurse failed to handle the situation like another "reasonable" nurse facing the same situation would. Generally, the causes of liability include but are not limited to the following: failure to make a good assessment; failure to adequately respond to emergency situations—especially with children who suffer from asthma and anaphylaxis; insufficient documentation of appropriate nursing care. Other cause include a failure to keep up to-date records; not abiding by district policy; failure to work and perform safely; and not effectively (or avoiding entirely) informing parents about their child's condition.

Lastly, a school nurse is subject to criminal liability if he or she participates in illegal activities, such as stealing controlled drugs from the school, having inappropriate contact with a child, or practicing medicine without a license. If a school nurse is found guilty of any of these accusations, typically he or she is required to pay a fine, serve a jail sentence (depending on the severity of the crime) and their nursing license may be revoked as well.

4 Things You Should Know About Caribbean Medical Schools

January 20th, 2011

From Aruba to Trinidad, the tourism trade provides a crucial source of income to small Caribbean countries, but it's not the only one. In recent years, many island nations have founded medical schools. In addition to temperate weather and ocean views, the schools typically offer easier admissions standards and lower tuition bills than American universities. Many doctors and nurses have established successful careers based on their education at Caribbean medical schools, but aspiring students should make sure to do their research before hopping on a plane to Barbados.

  1. Make sure the school is accredited. Spending four years in medical school is a major investment of time and money, so students should make sure that American employers will honor their degree when it's time to come home and find a job. Each country accredits its own institutions, but the U.S. Department of Education reviews those foreign standards every year before awarding federal education loans to American citizens who are attending the schools. Caribbean nations whose standards are comparable to American medical schools include the Cayman Islands, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Saba and St. Maarten. Individual states like California, Florida, New York and New Jersey also evaluate foreign medical schools, grading the standards at Caribbean colleges like Ross School of Medicine in Dominica, Saba School of Medicine in Saba and St. George University in Grenada.
  2. Ask if you can get clinical rotations. After completing their basic classroom studies, aspiring doctors gain experience as apprentices in large teaching hospitals. Major American universities can easily place their graduates in these clinical rotations, but foreign medical schools may struggle to find enough spaces. Students at Caribbean medical schools typically spend their third and fourth years of school training in U.S. hospitals, but changes that are brewing in New York state could make that more difficult. A total of 16 domestic medical programs in the state are lobbying the State Board of Regents to make it much harder for foreign schools to place students in New York hospitals, the New York Times reports.
  3. Check if the school has professors who teach your specialty. Medical students typically pick a specialty after learning the core curriculum, choosing from careers such as neurology, ophthalmology, dermatology, oncology, pediatrics, gynecology and orthopedics. Many graduates are drawn to lucrative choices like surgery and anesthesiology, fostering a growing shortage of general practice doctors in primary and family care. That trend is exacerbated by a predicted shortfall of up to 90,000 doctors in the U.S. by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Whatever their choice of discipline, medical students should make sure that their school has a strong staff of experts teaching that field.
  4. See how well the school's grads do on their medical boards. Regardless of where they go to school, students have to pass the rigorous medical board examination to earn a license to practice medicine in the U.S. Evidence shows that top Caribbean medical schools, such as American University of the Caribbean in St. Maarten, lag slightly behind American universities in preparing their students for the test, but are catching up fast, according to a student loan study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. In 2008, approximately 75 percent of foreign-trained graduates passed the clinical knowledge portion of the exams on their first try, up from 57 percent in 1998, the study found. The rate for students from American and Canadian medial school was 94 percent in both years. So if you didn't get in to your hometown med school, feel free to send your test scores to colleges in Jamaica or Antigua. Just do your homework first, and find the college that best fits your needs.

Georgetown University Joins the Ranks of Online Nursing Schools

January 20th, 2011

Georgetown University is partnering with a New York-based education technology company called 2tor to create its first ever online graduate degree programs, according to the Washington Post. Among those online graduate programs will be a family nurse practitioner master's program offered through the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Georgetown, the article revealed. Other online nursing programs at Georgetown are slated to follow this first effort.

The online program will reportedly help keep Georgetown from having to turn qualified applicants away from the graduate program due to limited facility space. Professors at the university had been hoping to incorporate an online format for a while now, but worried that such a format would take away from the personal, face-to-face experience nursing students receive in a classroom environment, the article showed. The online format offered through Georgetown, however, represents a technology that allows a more dynamic experience for the online student, supporters have said.

For instance, students enrolled in the online program would need to sign in to class at a set time every day to watch their professor's lectures on video. Online students would also be able to digitally "raise their hands" in class by clicking a button, the article explained. Visits to the Georgetown campus are also built into the curriculum so online students can use patient simulation technology.

Other well-known universities have partnered with 2tor to create online degree programs in disciplines outside nursing. Such schools include the University of Southern California (online programs in social work and education) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (online MBA program), the article showed.

Georgetown has said that the online family nurse practitioner master's program will be every bit as rigorous as a campus-based master's program, according to the Washington Business Journal.Candidates for the online program will be filtered through the same strict admissions standards expected of candidates for the campus-based program.

While most classes in the program will be offered fully online, clinical training will be arranged in a health care facility in close proximity to the online student's home town. This component means that online students will not miss out on the interaction with patients that is so vital to graduate programs in nursing.

Students who complete the online program will receive a master's degree from Georgetown University the same way a student would who attends classes on campus. The online program launches in Spring 2011, the university announced.

A Critical Care Nurse in the Air

January 20th, 2011

Meet Inger Lisa Skroder, MSN, ARNP. She currently owns and operates Trinity Air Ambulance International, a company incorporated in 1999 and based in southern Florida, which now has 12 full-time workers, a staff of 40 on-call workers, and two airplanes. Their safety records is perfect, and they have never had a patient die on board. They respond faster than any other air ambulance service in the area, especially those operated by hospitals.

What Skroder has managed to do is turn a life's passion for helping others into both a healthy business as well as a way to do something adventurous and daring. What makes her company unique, however, is that it's the only one of its kind in the area that is both owned and operated by a registered nurse. This gives Trinity an advantage, because it is run by someone who understands the needs of patients and the purpose of an air ambulance, rather than someone who views the enterprise as a business first and a life-saver second.

As a result, she has created one of the most successful ambulance services in the area. In fact, her success has led to her receiving a contract to provide air ambulance services for the island nation of Turks and Caicos in the lower Bahamas.

What, then, does this say about the potential you have if you become a critical care nurse? Well, for one, it says that you have the potential to make a huge impact in another person's life, especially if that person is in dire need of emergency medical assistance. Critical care is often a life-saving sort of care, one given to patients who must receive attention or risk serious injury or even death. When you become a critical care nurse, you take on a great amount of responsibility.

The success of Skroder's company also shows that through becoming a critical care nurse, you can achieve great things on your own behalf. Skroder has a livelihood that comes from doing what she loves. You too can earn a living by tending to your own passions, all while upholding the tenets of nursing. Critical care is the kind of care that will always be in demand, which therefore means it is possible to make something of that demand in terms of a business, or service, or product.

50 Famous & Successful People Who Are Diabetic

January 19th, 2011

Diabetes is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease that affects millions of people, famous and successful included. But suffering from this disease doesn't mean your life has to stop where it is-many people have gone on to live full, productive lives, achieving greatness from Nobel Prizes to Halls of Fame. Read on to learn about 50 famous and successful people who achieved despite this unfortunate affliction.

Science & Medicine

Inventors, doctors, and other people of science achieved greatness in the face of diabetes.

  1. George R. Minot: This Nobel Prize Winner for anemia was one of the first patients treated with insulin.
  2. Lois Jovanovic: Lois is a pioneer in the work of diabetes and pregnancy.
  3. Cynthia Ice: Cynthia Ice — who lost her eyesight to diabetic retinopathy — became IBM's Lotus Accessibility Lead.
  4. Thomas Edison: The prolific American inventor and businessman managed to create an amazing amount of patents while suffering from diabetes.
  5. Albert Ellis: Albert Ellis was a cognitive behavioral therapist who was diagnosed with diabetes at 40. Despite this and other health problems, he lived to be 93.

Business & Politics

Presidents and CEOs alike have suffered from diabetes.

  1. Yuri Andropov: Among other medical conditions, Soviet politician Yuri Andropov suffered from diabetes.
  2. Ray Kroc: Ray Kroc overcame diabetes and arthritis to create McDonald's.
  3. Janet Jagan: Guyanese President Janet Jagan has been treated for diabetes.
  4. James Farmer: Civil rights legend James Farmer lost his sight and legs to severe diabetes.
  5. Fran Carpentier: A diabetic, Fran Carpentier is also Parade Magazine's Senior Editor.
  6. Mikhail Gorbachev: Mikhail Gorbachev, former USSR leader, manages his type 2 diabetes with medication.
  7. Tom Foster: Tom Foster, former head of Foster Poultry Farms, died from complications of diabetes at 49.
  8. Fiorello LaGuardia: Former New York mayor and namesake of LaGuardia airport, Fiorello LaGuardia was a diabetic.


Despite the health challenge presented by diabetes, these athletes won titles and set records.

  1. Scott Coleman: Scott Coleman is known as the first diabetic to swim the English Channel.
  2. Ty Cobb: Legendary baseball player Ty Cobb suffered from diabetes as well as cancer.
  3. Smokin' Joe Frazier: Former Olympic and World Heavyweight boxing champion suffered from diabetes.
  4. Ayden Byle: A runner for diabetes research, he was the first insulin-dependent diabetic to run 6,521.5 kilometers across North America.
  5. Billie Jean King: One of the greatest women tennis players of all time is a diabetes sufferer.
  6. Ron Santo: This Chicago Cubs icon was not expected to live past 25 due to his diabetes condition.
  7. Sugar Ray Robinson: The World Welterweight Champion was diagnosed with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
  8. Jackie Robinson: A member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Jackie Robinson unfortunately kept his diabetes diagnosis hidden.


Although suffering from diabetes, these people offer TV, movies, music, and more for our entertainment.

  1. Dick Clark: Entertainer, creator of American Music Awards Dick Clark suffers from diabetes.
  2. Damon Dash: The co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records has type 1 diabetes.
  3. Della Reese: Singer and actress Della Reese is an American Diabetes Association spokeswoman.
  4. Walt Kelly: Part of the animation team at Disney, Walt Kelly died due to complications of diabetes.
  5. Ella Fitzgerald: The "First Lady of Song," Ella lost both her legs and ultimately her life to diabetes.
  6. Mary Tyler Moore: The TV sitcom actress is the international chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
  7. Bret Michaels: The lead singer of Poison has found a way to balance diabetes and his lifestyle.
  8. Randy Jackson: Randy Jackson is an American Idol judge and a part of the American Heart Association's The Heart of Diabetes campaign.
  9. James Cagney: The Academy Award winning tough guy actor died of a heart attack combined with complications from diabetes.
  10. Miles Davis: This jazz musician received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award despite diabetes.
  11. Bo Diddley: Despite fighting diabetes, hypertension, and stroke, Bo Diddley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  12. Nick Jonas: Nick Jonas of the Jonas brothers is determined to not let diabetes slow him down.
  13. Halle Berry: Halle Berry is the first African American woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress and an avid volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Association.
  14. Tony Bennett: Grammy Award winning jazz singer and a member of the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame, Tony Bennett achieves beyond diabetes.
  15. Rick James: Funk legend Rick James had various health issues, including diabetes and the need of a pacemaker.
  16. Jerry Lewis: The comedian, actor, director, and all around entertainer has had two heart attacks, prostate cancer, and pulmonary fibrosis in addition to type 1 diabetes.
  17. James Brown: A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, James Brown also suffered from prostate cancer and pneumonia.
  18. Elvis Presley: The King was a sufferer of diabetes.
  19. Wilford Brimley: Wilford Brimley is an actor and diabetes spokesman.
  20. Luther Vandross: Luther Vandross struggled with diabetes, weight problems, hypertension, and stroke.
  21. Larry King: Talk show host Larry King manages his diabetes with medication, checkups, and exercise.
  22. Johnny Cash: The "Man in Black" suffered from diabetes and drug addiction. He was diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy, associated with his diabetes.


Writers and other artists worked past their diabetes to create beautiful works of art.

  1. Ken Kesey: Ken Kesey's LSD-shaped work carried on despite diabetes diagnosed late in life.
  2. Ernest Hemingway: Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway had high blood pressure, liver problems, and diabetes for years.
  3. Mario Puzo: The author of The Godfather had diabetes.
  4. Anne Rice: Anne was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes following a coma and blood sugar level around 800.
  5. Paul Cezanne: Impressionist Cezanne died of pneumonia and complications of diabetes.
  6. HG Wells: The creator of The War of the Worlds was diagnosed with "mild diabetes."
  7. Laura Ingalls Wilder: This author of the Little House on the Prairie died from diabetes and a weak heart.

Accelerated Nursing Programs Help Nursing Students Graduate Faster

January 19th, 2011

Nursing is such a high-demand profession that hundreds of nursing schools across the nation have developed accelerated nursing programs for individuals returning to school to earn a second degree in nursing after earning a bachelor's in a non-nursing-related area. Also known as fast-track nursing programs, accelerated nursing programs allow nursing students to graduate in a much shorter timeframe. This allows students to get their degree, get licensed and enter the workforce more quickly, helping to put a dent in the persistent nationwide nursing shortage.

Accelerated bachelor's programs can help nursing students earn a bachelor's degree in anywhere from 11 to 18 months and a master's degree in 3 years, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. For students who already hold a bachelor's degree in another area, accelerated nursing programs are the shortest route to nursing licensure possible, the AACN asserts.

While would-be nursing students often savor the idea of graduating more quickly, they should be aware that accelerated nursing programs cram an awful lot of rigorous material into that short timeframe, and there's usually no breaks between sessions. When taking such an intensive course load, nursing students often have to kiss their social lives goodbye to stay on top of it all, and most programs recommend that a student attend school full time without working to stay on top of the massive amount of work required. However, those students who can manage the increased amount of work are rewarded by being able to fast-track their career as well.

Accelerated nursing programs aren't for everyone. Because these programs are so rigorous, the program often requires that students have maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher in all previous coursework. Program administrators must be sure that students have what it takes to succeed in an intensive, accelerated nursing program.

Many accelerated nursing programs are offered fully or partially online by accredited nursing schools. This allows students the flexibility of logging in to their courses at a time that is most convenient to them, and allows them to avoid the daily commute to a campus. The only part of nursing education that is not conducted online is clinicals, hands-on nursing preparation that is arranged at a health care facility near the student.

If you are having trouble getting a job with the degree you have, you may want to return to school to get an accelerated nursing degree. It could be your ticket to better job opportunities and better pay than you're receiving now.

Hot Nursing Career: The Skinny on Nurse Practitioners

January 19th, 2011

Nurse practitioners entered the health care scene in the mid-1960s in response to a nationwide shortage of physicians, according to the Mayo School of Health Sciences. Today, they are some of the most in-demand nurses in the already high-demand field of nursing. Advanced practice nurses—such as nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists—will be in great demand in medically underserved areas such as inner cities and rural areas well into the future because they provide primary care at a lower cost than a physician, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Aside from charging less for health care services, nurse practitioners are generally more accessible than physicians.

Nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who are authorized to perform many of the same primary and preventive care duties typically associated with physicians due to their specialized graduate training and extensive clinical experience as registered nurses. In fact, the American Nurses Association reported that nurse practitioners can perform 60 to 80 percent of all primary and preventive health care duties, according to the Mayo School of Health Sciences. NPs can diagnose and treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries and even prescribe medications. They can also perform and order diagnostics tests, such as lab work or X-rays for patients.

Nurses who want better compensation for their work and more autonomy on the job often choose to become nurse practitioners. In many states, nurse practitioners open their own practices to treat patients under the oversight of a physician or work collaboratively as part of a larger health care team, seeing patients individually as a doctor would. And the pay is far better than what is earned as an RN who isn't an advanced practice nurse. In 2008, the base salary for full-time nurse practitioners was $84,250, according to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. When you factor in benefits and other perks, the average nurse practitioner brings in $92,100 annually. Compare that to the average annual salary of all registered nurses, which is $62,450, according to labor statistics.

Finally, nurse practitioners often specialize in one particular area. Most nurse practitioners work in family practice, adult practice, pediatrics, women's health and acute care, but a few work in less common areas, such as oncology, neonatology, gerontology and mental health.