Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A critical nursing shortage, an opportunity for you, whether you’re a nurse or not!

There have been several news stories in the past few years that discuss the possibility of a nursing shortage in the near future.  One of the primary reasons is the aging of America, the Baby Boomer generation is retiring at an estimated rate of 10,000 a day.  Many people who retire have an increased need for medical care and they also become eligible for Medicare ( It seems everyone is against government run healthcare, until they turn 65!).  With the aging of the population, there is also an aging of the nursing workforce who will also be retiring.  There is also a shortage of faculty to teach prospective nurses. 

Think about these facts.  An increased need and access, combined with a decreasing number of nurses and not enough qualified personnel to teach new nurses.  The respected Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports that by 2025, the United States will have 260,000 open positions for professional nurses!  

Although, this is a national crisis, it is also an opportunity for the motivated individual.  Whether you are thinking of a second career or just starting a career, nursing will provide a vast opportunity.  Considering the laws of supply and demand, a shortage of 260,000 professional nurses will mean the prepared, well educated nurse will have an abundance of  well paying opportunities. 

So what to do now?  If your sincere about earning your RN, than peruse this and other sites (like and start the process of going to a decent nursing school.  Prepare for the upcoming opportunity by making a plan and sticking to your plan.  Believe me, it is worth it!

However, you do not have to be a nurse to take advantage of this upcoming shortage!

My next post will list the top opportunities for the non-nurse in the nursing shortage.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Top Ten Medical Related Careers You Can Start with an Associate’s Degree

Earning an Associate’s Degree through your local community college has several benefits compared to going directly to a University.   A typical community college will charge much less per a credit hour.  When I earned my Associates in Nursing, I only had to pay around $82 per a credit hour for a 72 credit degree.  I could have earned a Bachelors of Nursing, however they charged anywhere from $250 to $500 per a credit hour ( and my starting salary was the same as those with a BSN!).  There were also accelerated BSN programs that would have cost around $30,000, a bit more then I wanted to spend in my quest to enhance my career.  

 Due to the low cost of community college and tuition reimbursement, I was able to enter nursing without any debt.  Compared with the thousands of dollars I spent on earning a BA in Sociology, the Associates in Nursing was a much better value, with career stability and better compensation. 

Whether you want to change your career to nursing or you are entering the workforce, I strongly encourage you to explore the opportunities at your local community college.  If you choose the right program, you can minimize your financial obligations and still finish your bachelors after you start your new career. 

According to the BLS, the following occupations only require an Associate’s degree; 

1.      Radiation Therapist, salary range: $75000 or more!  A radiation therapist is responsible for following a Doctor’s orders to use radiation in the treatment of cancer and other conditions.   For more information, visit the American Registry of Radiological Technologist website. 

2.      Dental Hygienist, salary ranges $55000 to $75000!   This reminds me that I need to get my teeth cleaned.   Anyhow, for more information, visit the American Dental Hygienist website.

3.      Nuclear Medicine Technologist, salary range of $55000-$74999.  This position requires the use of a scanner to rule out abnormalities and may require the administration of medication to help the imaging of organs.  Check out the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging website for detailed information. 

4.      Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, salary range of $55000-$74999.   Sonographers use special ultrasound imaging equipment to help doctors make a diagnosis.  For more information check out the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography website. 

5.      Registered Nurse, salary range $55000-74999.  Nurses take direct care of patients and normally branch out and specialize as they gain experience.  I am a prime example, where I started on Medical-Surgical and a little more than three years later will be starting a management position.  There are a variety of possibilities and I will create another post in the near future.

6.      Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technologist, salary range $55000 to $74999.  An MRI tech will maintain and operate MRI equipment which will create images for doctors to ascertain what is going on in a patients body. 

7.      Respiratory Therapist, $55000 to $74999.   This profession helps patients breathe!  Whether it is setting up oxygen, giving a inhaler or helping someone get off a vent, the RT is an essential part of a medical team in the hospital.
8.      Radiological Technologist, $35000-$55000.  Think Xray!

9.      Occupational Therapist Assistant, $35000-$55000.  Follow the Therapist orders to assist patients in their recovery from illness.  Helping a stroke victim re learn to brush their teeth would be the type of service an OT assistant would provide. 

10.  Physical Therapist Assistant, $35000-$55000.  Follow the treatment plan developed by the Physical Therapist to help patients regain strength and mobility. 

An Associate’s degree in one of the aforementioned fields, is a minimal investment that can help you get started working in healthcare within 24 months!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Learn the Study Skills you need to increase your GPA (and still have a life!)

I was watching Sherlock Holmes on PBS the other day and Dr. Watson told Sherlock to “…Use Your Mind Palace!”   It was an interesting idea, to use the “Mind Palace” as a place where someone as brilliant as Sherlock Holmes stores memories!   What a cool skill to have!  How much easier would that make studying the complicated topics like Anatomy and Physiology!

The crazy thing is that you do not have to be a brilliant detective like Sherlock Holmes to take advantage of the full capacity of your memory!   In fact, memory and studying skills that anyone can learn at any age.  One of the main secrets is that A students are not always the students with the highest IQ, however they are students who have learned the skills needed to be a good student.   

So no matter what your age, you can learn those skills that will take the anxiety out of returning to school and allow you to master new learning with ease!  

I am living proof!  When I earned my first degree back in 1990, my GPA was a pitiful 2.5!
When I returned to school, I took the time to learn basic skills and earned a 3.4 with my first nursing degree and am almost done with a Master’s Degree in which my GPA will be 3.8 or better.  This massive improvement in my GPA was not only due to my increased self discipline, it was also because I took time to learn to be a student. 

If you desire to prepare yourself for school and want to improve your GPA, then check this site out on How to get the Best Grades with the least amount of Effort.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Time Flies...

Since starting this blog I have worked on a busy Medical Surgical floor, worked in adult physical rehab and adult mental health and have become a credentialed trainer for an Epic Systems installation   All within the same hospital system!  I also am a few months from finishing my Masters Degree in Nursing and will start a nurse management position after the Epic System goes live in the hospital system. 

All this to say, I am extremely pleased with my decision to change careers and start nursing school at the young age of forty!   So if you have stumbled across the blog and are in the process of deciding to make a change, I for one can recommend going for it.

I really love the opportunities nursing as provided, and working in a career that the ultimate effect of what I do has a positive effect on my small area of world.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Health Care Careers with a Two Year Degree

You can obtain a Health Care Career with a 2 year degree. Many junior colleges carry studies in the nursing field and studies in biological sciences. In some cities health care is big business and schools have accommodated, offering a host of medical related studies. A range of health care careers with a 2 year degree pays salaries that reach the 40k a year level. The population of many areas of the world is growing older, increasing the need for people working in the health care industry. Many of these positions only require an associate degree.

Respiratory Therapist is a health care career with a 2 year degree requirement. This job assists physician with the patients breathing necessities.  Respiratory Therapist evaluates patients with a new onset of shortness of breath.  They also are expected to respond to emergency situations as well as taking care of patients on vents in intensive care unit.
Optician assistant or Dispensing Optician, this is a job working with helping patients get fitted for glasses and other optical needs.  This is an excellent option for those who enjoy helping others with style and fashion.  

Nursing is a popular profession and pays a nice salary. Most junior colleges support medical training for many of these jobs and nursing leads the list. Two year nurses work under a Registered Nurse or Doctor. Some use this step as a catalyst to other medical professions. Surgical Assisting is another field, technician’s stock surgery area, keeping this important area of a hospital ready to function any time. This group of people may go unnoticed by the public but are essential to the functioning of a hospital.
IT Tech is one institution that offers two year career training along with many community colleges. Career training is also done online for careers that require two year training. IT jobs are growing in importance. The need for people with the ability to use information technology is essential in every industry around the world. Health informatics is a growing part of the medical field. Mesh technology, medical training and information in one bundle and create better use of information for the medical profession.  This is an excellent choice for those with a technology background or enjoys working with computers.

Money for Nursing School

In order to become a registered nurse, you must complete a minimum Associates Degree training program from a qualified institution or nursing school. This program may take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Most nurses today prefer to continue their education to the Bachelor degree level in order to obtain better prospects for employment. Upon completion of your degree, you are required to take and pass a licensing exam before you can be eligible to work in your profession. The cost of your nursing education will vary depending on the nursing school and degree program you choose. To help offset these expenses, you should explore the possibility of receiving financial aid for the nursing program you desire.

Financial Aid for Nurse Training Programs

When it comes to financing your education, there are various options to choose from. Many nursing students qualify for Federal aid in the form of grants, scholarships, loans or work study programs to finance their education. To obtain financial aid from the Federal government, students must fill out and submit a Federal Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA) at the following site: Here you will find more information on what types of funding are available and how to qualify.

The American Association of Colleges of Nurses also offers financial aid and scholarship prospects to those studying for a nursing career. Scholarships are available at the undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels. You can find out more information concerning financial aid assistance by visiting this site: A comprehensive listing of nursing scholarships from various sources can be obtained by visiting this site: The listing includes contact details where you can receive more details concerning each one of the scholarships mentioned.
Although financial assistance for nursing school is available, it will require some research on your part to find the kind of assistance you need. Some financial aid programs are only geared for graduate or post graduate programs while others are specifically for entry level nurses. it may take some time to research the many options at your disposal, but it is not time wasted as it could result in your getting the funding you need to complete your education.

State Scholarships

Some states offer their own scholarship programs for nurses studying within their borders. You can research these options for doing a search on nurse scholarships for the state where you are studying. Qualifications for these types of scholarships will probably vary depending on the state and scholarship program. But you lose nothing by researching these prospects and seeing what is available. Establishing a first or second career as a registered nurse is worth the effort and if this entails finding financial resources to enable you to study, then you should make every effort to obtain the finances you need.

How to become a Registered Nurse, Debt Free

When you study nursing, you may end up working in a hospital, either as an intern or just occupationally. Most hospitals offer some kind of tuition reimbursement or loan forgiveness for studying or working with them. Others go way farther. Here is the information you need to know about hospital tuition reimbursement, a program that enables you to learn to be a nurse while keeping your head above water.
The Mayo Clinic, for example, offers staff development classes, clinical rotations for nursing schools, training programs, educational awards to attend national and international conferences, reimbursement, relocation expenditures, on-site daycare, and back- up childcare for emergency situations. What that means for you is that, if you are placed there, you are learning from the best and making sure that nothing gets in the way of your nursing education.
Other hospitals, like Northwest Community in Illinois and Kaiser Permanente's Oakland Medical Center, offer conceirge services, food budgets, or housing stipends to allow you to get where you need to be, wherever you are coming from.
The military is another great institution. It teaches you discipline, coordination, teamwork, a sense of honor and duty, and so much more. However, that does not mean you want to make your Military training into a career. If you are coming out of the armed forces after a tour of duty or time in the academy and want to apply your skills to the civilian world, consider an Associates degree in nursing. There are several programs, like the GI Bill, that will pay for you to get on the job training to make the switch from military to civilian life, if you know the right path.
No matter what your first career was, or whether you are entering the job market for the first time, becoming a nurse is an achievable goal. LPNs, RNs, midwives, and other nursing professionals are a crucial part of the medical field, and the need for diligent, trained nurses is constantly growing.
Becoming a nurse is not easy. It requires drive, dedication, and an understanding of both practical applications of math and science and a bedside manner that puts patients at ease while at the same time making sure they get the care they need. Nurses need to know pedagogy and theory as well as practice and patient care. The balance is difficult and can be intimidating.
Even though it is a two year degree program, your Associates degree in Nursing is not a blow off major. In addition to General Education and specialized nursing classes, you must take practicuum classes, like those at Mayo or Permanente, in order to get hands on experience in the field. There are long hours, labs, difficult exams, and a licensing exam should you go on to become a Registered Nurse.
The pay- off, though, is a highly lucrative job in which you make a difference, and where you always have the opportunity to move ahead in your career. It is a tradeoff, but if you are passionate about nursing and patient care, it is a worthwhile tradeoff for sure.