Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Interdisciplinary Simulation Lab Puts Gannon on the Map

Submitted by: Dr. Kathleen T. Patterson,
Assistant Professor and Director, Villa Maria School of Nursing

There are exciting things happening in the small western corner of Pennsylvania. The Morosky Academic Center at Gannon University in Erie was the newest building that opened during the 2008-09 academic year. It is home to the College of Health Professions and Sciences and includes the Villa Maria School of Nursing—the oldest BSN nursing program in Western Pennsylvania. It also houses the Schools of Physician Assistant, Respiratory Care, Sport and Exercise Science, Radiologic Sciences, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy. Each specialty area is equipped with its own classroom space, faculty offices and laboratories.

The shining gem in the new building is the state-of-the-art Patient Simulation Center, which is as impressive as it is technologically complete. It includes an eight-bed mock hospital unit with eight moderate-level simulation “manikins” and two IV simulation computer programs. These “patients” are all “fluid friendly” and can be programmed to have changes in breathing patterns and blood pressure readings.

In a separate ICU area, there are two high-fidelity adult simulation manikins that can be programmed for more critical changes related to trauma or intensive care anomalies. These manikins simulate breathing and can be programmed to talk and have severe metabolic imbalances. There is also an infant simulator that can be programmed much like the ICU patients. In addition, a separate room is available for a birthing manikin and an ICU neonatal area. All of the simulation areas are equipped with cameras to videotape scenarios that are conducted by students. In addition, there are two debriefing rooms in the sim lab and a technologically advanced classroom space that seats 50 students.

The intent of this center is to have interdisciplinary simulation and management by several professions, mirroring the “real life” expectations in the hospital. “This space and equipment allows our students to feel more confident in the hospitals caring for their patients. Here at Gannon, we encourage the spirit of collegiality and inclusiveness and want the health professions to interact together towards the goal of holistic patient care,” noted Dr. Carolynn Masters, Dean of the College of Health Professions and Sciences. One parent commented at orientation, “We have looked at several schools in Pennsylvania and this is by far the most impressive center we have seen.”

The Villa Maria School of Nursing has a 4-year BSN program, an RN to BSN and an RN to MSN option, School Nurse Certification, and Master’s programs in Family Nurse Practitioner, Medical-Surgical Nursing, Nursing Administration and Nurse Anesthesia. The School has been honored by the State Board of Nursing for its impressive NCLEX first-time pass rate of between 95 and 100% over the past five years. Course work reflects the goal of preparing a nurse who is well-rounded; a nurse with an understanding of the physical, emotional and spiritual self of patients and families. In addition, liberal arts coursework supports Gannon’s local and global mission of service learning. Visit www.gannon.edu/nursing for more information.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mansfield University’s Online MSN Program Offers Flexibility and Balance

By Susan Lanzara, MSN RN, C
Nursing Instructor
Mansfield University

The Master of Science program at Mansfield University is designed for professional nurses who seek an advanced nursing degree while maintaining current employment. Students may choose either the educator or leadership/administrator track. The program builds on knowledge acquired in a Bachelor’s program. It provides additional knowledge to prepare graduates for roles in nursing education, staff development or leadership roles in health care organizations.

In the nurse educator track the learner will integrate perspectives from nursing science, education and evaluation to design, implement and evaluate nursing curricula. Other areas of study specific to this track are design, implementation and evaluation of teaching strategies for classroom and clinical areas. In the nurse leader/administrator track courses are geared to provide the learner with knowledge of strategic planning in health care organizations and nursing services. Also emphasized is the management of fiscal and technological resources to improve patient care. The impact of public policy on the health of clients and healthcare organizations is analyzed.

So, why Mansfield? The Master of Science program is offered online. The program is designed to give you the flexibility you need to balance work, family and coursework. Ideally, learners take two courses for six semesters to complete the program in two calendar years. However, you may take courses at a pace that meets your individual needs. Our online nursing faculty team is made up of caring and supportive members who combine strong academic qualifications with extensive real world practical experience. Our team has a broad range of research interests which include nursing education, evaluation research, clinical expertise and rural health. Here is what some of our graduates have to say about our program: “I like the online format, it gives me the flexibility I need to juggle career, family and school”, “The Professors are available. They don’t just disappear halfway through the semester.”, “The two different tracks allows you to pick the focus, either leadership or education that you are interested in.” These are just some of the reasons our learners give for choosing our program. Join our online community of learners in the Mansfield University MSN program and further your nursing career.

For more information please visit us at our link, below left.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Nursing Online Continuing Education Can Put $10,000 in Your Pocket

A recent survey revealed that nurses having certifications had an annual full-time income averaging to almost 10,000 dollars higher compared those who are not certified.

In fact, so to maintain certification or licensure, nurses are required to finish courses in nursing continuing education units also referred as CEUs.
CEUs or nursing continuing education are essential to comply with certain States' licensing re-certification and renewal requirements, because a number of States in the U.S. have compulsory yearly requirements on nursing continuing education.

Nursing continuing education is generally offered thru workshops, seminars, conferences, finishing a certificate program or completing a learning module online.

But nurses do pursue continuing education for the primary reason of keeping themselves well educated and informed as well as to keep current their nursing expertise and skills.

Nursing continuing education will:

1. Impart training opportunities in a short period which are not a part of a degree academic program.

2. Foster growth and continued proficiency of nursing capabilities.

3. Concentrate on fields of specialization and expertise (chemotherapy, diabetes, domestic violence, etc.) that promote professional advancement.

4. Show employers that personal development and education are important.

Get it online

Many nursing continuing education programs are obtainable online which makes completing CEUs easier for most individuals.

With today’s online advancements like teleconferencing, it is probable not only to go away with your degree but also from the encounter, gain greater knowledge as well as comfort with online technology.

Most universities include online continuing education that provides highly skilled instructors to effectively assist you in learning a range of subjects.

Likewise, many companies today provide in-house workshops and seminars for their employers.

Several nursing continuing education are available via correspondence courses which arrive at either your email or mailbox. Depending upon the nursing continuing education program that you select, expect to shell out less than 100 dollars or more than 1000 dollars.

Remember that it is significant to verify the courses provided by the facility you have chosen are recognized and accepted by your company.

Kinds of nursing continuing education

You can locate courses on almost any facet of nursing. When you specialize you can select CEUs that directly are associated to your area.

This option permits you to study about fields wherein you are really not familiar with, and desire additional knowledge on specific nursing fields.

However, note that several States necessitate that you finish certain CEUs. So before you select programs of your interest only, confirm with your area or state in order to find out if you are required to complete first a nursing mandatory program.

CEU program accreditation

When selecting CEU online options, decide on an accredited provider. Likewise, you need to make certain that you are aware what is needed to earn your CEUs. Several online program providers grant CEUs without any charges, however before you select one these options, make sure that the module meets your requirements.

Do your research before enrolling in any type of nursing continuing education provider. Inspect their website and if possible, call so that you can ask questions and they can readily answer all your questions.

Nursing continuing education permits you to successfully stay competitive as well as be ahead on the most modern technologies in nursing in order for you to efficiently serve your patients to your best ability.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nursing Certifications and Expanding Your Career

By Cynthia Andrews

If you are a registered nurse, you already hold the key to unlock an almost unlimited number of career opportunities.

The only thing you have to do is choose the door to walk through. There is little risk here, if you feel like you have traveled down the wrong path you can simply choose another door. This is what it’s like to obtain advanced nursing certifications. You have the ability to choose a career path that suites you, but you can always gain additional certifications and change your career track.

With a nursing certification there is no limit to the things you can do throughout your career. There are many new and emerging nursing fields popping up all the time. Obtaining certification in areas such as forensic nursing, holistic nursing and genetic nursing will you allow to work in these nontraditional fields. Most of the certifications do not take a long time to obtain, so you can gain as many as you feel necessary.

Obtaining nursing certifications can easily help you advance from a registered nurse into a number of different leadership roles. Although the most common is nursing supervisor, you may gain certifications in specialties such as nurse manager or nurse administrator. These specialties help you land positions in the operational and financial management sectors within the healthcare industry. You may only be working at the hospital, but you could become one of the key leaders that ensure that the hospital runs efficiently and effectively.

When you obtain advanced nursing certifications you give yourself the opportunity to break out of the hospital and into many different types of organizations. Advanced certifications allow you to work in environments that a regular registered nurse may not be able to. For example, with fields like genetic nursing and nurse researcher, you are able to work in a laboratory setting. With specialties like legal nurse consulting, and nurse advocacy you might even find yourself in the courtroom. With ethics in nursing and nurse educator you are sure to be in the classroom.

Not only can you find yourself working in multiple types of organizations during the course of your career, but with some nursing certifications your nursing career may even be able to take you to different states or countries. International nursing gives you the tool to take your nursing knowledge to a variety of different countries. Right now, this is one of the more popular specialties, and though most choose to take their expertise to an underdeveloped nation, you can choose to go where ever you would like, as nurses are in demand all over the world.

Choosing an advanced certification such as independent nurse consulting could give you the option of starting your own business. You can choose to start a consulting business, a mobile or in home nursing business, or maybe even a case management business. The possibilities are endless. Along with the consistent boom in medical services that is forecasted to last for years to come, your chance of turning a profit sooner and staying in business longer is greater than that of the average first time entrepreneur. As the largest group of people in the country (the "baby boomers") begins to age, the need for healthcare workers and businesses will continue to grow.

Becoming certified within a particular specialty will allow you to explore other career interests, possibly writing. A number of nurses lend their knowledge to various media outlets and organizations through either full time or part time writing. Regardless of whether you choose the specialty of nurse writing or you choose to write about other medical procedures, you will find the opportunities endless, possibly allowing you to cultivate this knowledge into a career. Aside from writing articles you may choose to write for seminars, continuing education course materials, or even product reviews.

Nursing certifications allow you to expand your career by giving you options. As you can see there is no limit to the number of career paths that you can take. You can manage your career to change as you change. In this economy some may see career longevity as a great reason for gaining nursing certifications. Many nurses see the flexibility of obtaining these additional credentials as their greatest asset. You should be able to obtain certifications while still working full time. Your certifications can help you move from the hectic pace and schedule of a registered nurse to the more structured business hours and standard schedule of a consultant. Then there is the consistent demand of specialty nurses. Unlike most of those entering the workforce today, you should be able to get a job anywhere in the U.S.

Nursing certifications not only expand your career, but they give you the control of turning your career into whatever you would like it to be. Certifications such as these allow you to take your favorite part of your job and perform that service possibly for the rest of your career.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Looking for Alternative Nursing Careers

By Andri Irawan

For some nurses, the daily hospital life can be too demanding and stressful. You need to provide care to your patients eight hours a day, and this means you can get caught up dealing with other people’s problems. Also, at some point in time you can make a mistake that would take away someone’s life. That’s pretty painful, right? If you’re growing sick and tired of your traditional hospital job, you better start looking for alternative nursing careers.

There are lots of career routes out there that will pave your way out of the clinic or hospital. But it doesn’t mean you have to give up your hard-earned nursing expertise; you just have to use it in a different way.

Yes, there are numerous opportunities that require your nursing skills in alternative settings. So if you are an experienced nurse who’s not happy with your job anymore, you have no reason to fret. Remember: you are capable of more than you think. You got skills and talents so you are generally well-equipped for working out of the traditional clinical setting.

Here are some interesting career alternatives for nurses:

• Clinical Research Associate

A CRA ensures that clinical trials are done properly and without compromising the patient’s wellbeing. She also ensures accuracy of the gathered data. So if you want to be a CRA, most of your time will be spent visiting clinicians who perform such trials. You can work on different companies such as biotechnology, academic medical centers, pharmaceuticals, government agencies, the list goes on.

Clinical trial is a research study of a medical device, a drug, or a biologic treatment in humans. Pharmaceutical products, for example, undergo clinical trials to find out if they are safe and effective before they will be approved. Clinical skills are so important in this job; that’s why nurses are the most ideal candidates for such.

Telecommuting Nursing Career

It is one of the most practical options for nurses who want t stay away from the traditional nursing jobs. You can work by telecommuting for Health Information Technology Companies, Clinical Research Centers, health organizations, medical transcription centers, and freelance sites looking for writers in the medical field.

Nurse Contractor

Unleash the entrepreneur in you by becoming an Independent Nurse Contractor or by setting up a Nursing Agency Business. This career will not only give you financial freedom but will also make you recognize your worth. You just need to know the ins and outs of such business and voila, you can be a successful nurse entrepreneur.

Legal Nurse Consultants

Why not use your nursing expertise and be a healthcare professional? You can take Certified Legal Nurse Consultant training and after that, you can start accepting consulters on medical-related cases. You can work for attorneys who aren’t really familiar with medical records and terminologies. Also, you can provide services to government agencies, private corporations, and even for insurance companies. Among the services you can give are researching and reviewing medical records, preparing reports on the area of illness and injury, classifying standards of care and many other services.

• Travel Nurse

A travel nursing career will surely make a difference not just in your own but in your patient’s life as well. Aside from fulfilling your traveling desires, you can also serve your patient in a way that satisfies both of you. You can work at your own pace and in different places. You just have to be careful in choosing your placement agency. Pick the one that will help make your dream a reality. Go for the agency that offers a competitive hourly rate, free housing, complete insurance plans and medical coverage, retirement plans and enticing bonuses.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to look outside your exhausting traditional role! Spread your wings for new career adventures. Alternative nursing careers are just there waiting for you.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let Humor Keep You Well

By: Audrey Pihulyk

Our bodies are intricately designed, so that when a breakdown occurs in one area, due to stress, it can have an adverse effect on other parts of our body. Stress is the body’s reaction to a demand made upon it. Unfortunately, stress is all around us and we do not have to look far to find stressed-out people, whether at work or at home.

In these fast-paced days there are increasingly heavy demands being placed on our emotional and physical well-being. Because of these demands we at times may break down and give in to the emotions of fear and anger, resulting in rigidity of thinking and behaviour. At this stage we may begin to feel like things are out of control, precipitating paranoid thinking.

Thankfully, there is one important antidote that has been shown to provide relief from this dilemma, which if utilized wisely can restore us back to productive living. I’m speaking of humour, or more specifically, playfulness and laughter.

Dr. Kenneth Pelltier, author of Longevity: Fulfilling Our Biological Potential, travelled to Pakistan, the Sudan, Mexico and other areas to study the secrets of longevity among people who claimed to be 120 to 150 years old. His study revealed that many of these people possessed similar traits, the most striking of which were their vigour, humor and love of life. Many of us, too, have acquaintances who, though up in years, also possess the same joyful attitude as those found in Pelltier’s study. Gathering from this, therefore, we can assume that integrating humor into our everyday life experiences can contribute much to our health and long life.

Our physiological make-up as human beings has three components: the mind, the emotions and the body. The mind is the rudder that directs our emotions which in turn directs our subsequent actions. When the mind operates at or above its potential, it increases our mental flexibility, giving us the capacity to think clearly and creatively, while at the same time enabling us to block out negative emotions. This can give us a shift in perspective, enabling us to see humor in just about anything, even in mistakes and failures. To see humour in this way is helpful to those who deal with life-and-death situations, helping them stay sane and flexible even in the midst of unpleasant circumstances.

With change occurring rapidly around us, we cannot afford to be caught in mental ruts. Change and adaptation are the mode of the day. Fortunately, humor brings incongruity; that is, we get the opposite of what we expected, giving us the needed shift in perspective. Looking at potential stressful situations with a humorous eye is what it is all about. At a crowded event a quadriplegic friend of mine, while in his wheelchair, quipped, "At least I can always find a seat in a crowded auditorium."

Have you ever sat down to tackle a project and then experienced a mental block? After taking a few minutes for a break, possibly a musical interlude, looking out the window, or physically stretching your mental block disappeared and you were able to finish the task. In his book, Humor Works, Dr. John Morreall tells of how humor helped turn around the fortunes of the Xerox Company. Management decided to set up a project to be housed in a dilapidated warehouse which they named Skunk Works. The employees were instructed to leave the building in its broken-down state, to come and go as they pleased, and wear whatever they wished. All the usual office restrictions were lifted, and their only task was to be creative and innovative, and have fun at the same time. Projects were given humorous names such as "Bulldog" and "Chainsaw." The employees were relaxed, creative and productive. Amazingly, through this change of perspective, and even without the usual rules and leadership of an authoritarian boss, Skunk Works managed to succeed in saving Xerox Company millions in research dollars.

In addition to the mental and emotional benefits mentioned, humor also benefits a person’s physical being. In 1960, Dr. William Fry of Stanford Medical School began studying the physical benefits of humour. His study and others like it, show that laughter is very beneficial in reducing the levels of physical pain. He also found that laughter gives the muscles of the upper body a workout that releases six times more oxygen into the lungs than talking alone. Another benefit is the increased blood circulation which occurs through laughter. In fact, Dr. Fry stated that twenty seconds of hearty laughter gives the heart the same exercise as three minutes of hard rowing.

In his book, Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by a Patient, Norman Cousins wrote of his own journey from an illness―in which the connective tissue of his spine was disintegrating―to full recovery. By his own admission, he had made himself sick from overwork. Scrutinizing his lifestyle, he began to make some changes. One key decision he made was to let loose his laughing spirit. As he watched humorous videos and visited with humorous friends, he found that ten minutes of belly laughter brought him two hours of pain-free sleep. Gradually, through laughter and other lifestyle changes, he regained his health and became free from the devastating disease.

An incident that I experienced recently brought home the value of humor in reducing stress and maintaining optimum health. Six months ago, I encountered a number of deadlines that needed to be met in a very short time, almost impossible for even two people to meet. Nevertheless I pushed on, developing in the process a severe headache that no medication in the house could relieve. With my head pounding, as if it was about to explode, I sat on the couch, petted the family dog and watched the children play nearby. In this relaxed state I soon became detached from my problems, felt the stress lift and my headache disappear.

As we can see, it is important to disengage our minds in stressful moments from what is troubling us and allow humor and playfulness to take over. Remember, laughing about something will help you from getting stressed about it. It even states in the Bible, "A merry heart does good like a medicine," a good motto to follow indeed.

Audrey Pihulyk is Nurse Audrey, the "stress specialist" who brings stress relief through her speaking, writing and entertaining. When it comes to stress and balancing your life - Nurse Audrey has been there and done that! If you are experiencing damaging stress, check out her 2CD set: Surviving & Thriving On Stress found at: http://www.nurseaudrey.com/resources.html. While you are there read the Blogs where you will find ideas on how to balance your life more effectively.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Help Yourself and Others by Mentoring and Volunteering

By David Maillie

We see and hear about them every day - Charity runs, walks for Breast Cancer, Dinners, Golf outings, etc... These events raise needed money for research, medical expenses and expensive treatments, to provide medical care to underprivileged people, and for disaster relief among other things. These are all great endeavors, the problem is that no one person can donate to all of them and some funnel a higher percentage of funds to their recipients. The best way around this is to volunteer and give a little of your time to the cause of your choice.

As the saying goes - "If you give someone a fish, you feed them for a day. If you teach them how to fish, you feed them for a lifetime." Everyone has knowledge, abilities and experience they can pass on to help others. For instance, Habitat for Humanity provides a nice home and a better community to people who could not afford it, but are willing to put in some sweat equity. Several charities provide counselors for drug rehab, family problems and even credit counseling. Big Brother is a great organization that provides a mentor to kids of all races that need a father or extra parental figure as they don't have one. You don't have to even volunteer with a large charity, you can do it on your own.

There are thousands of nursing homes with elderly residents that would absolutely love to have someone come and talk to them for just an hour or two. Many of these nursing home residents have little or no visitors and are very lonely. The Orange County Choppers family, famous for their show on Discovery Channel, went and played bingo with the residents at a local nursing home and made a big difference in their lives. It also made them feel better helping these people. That is what happens when you volunteer - by helping others you help yourself.

It has been proven that people who donate their time and help others by volunteering have lower stress rates, lower blood pressure, and live longer. It just makes you feel good to know that you had a positive effect on someone else’s life. The 20th century prophet Edgar Cayce hinted at the meaning of life and our future has to do with helping others and becoming fulfilled and happy therefore helping ourselves in the process.

Regardless of your beliefs and choice of charity or method, volunteer and make a difference in someone’s life. Could you imagine what the world would be like if everyone volunteered just 1 hour a week? Take the time to volunteer and help others and make the world and your world a better place.