Jumat, 21 September 2012

Getting Your Associate's Degree in Nursing

So you've heard the call, you saw the light, you made the decision -- whatever your reason, you have decided that nursing is the profession for you. Congratulations, you have a very rewarding career ahead of you. But now that you've made such a momentous step in your life, how do you put the grand plan into action. One of the most popular and attainable ways to become a nurse is by going to school for your associate's degree.

Since you have decided to further your education, you will need to take a look at your previous studies. Did you do well in high school? Did you graduate? Some programs will waive certain subjects like algebra and chemistry if you took and passed them with a high grade in high school. Most associates degrees in nursing will take between 2 and 3 years to complete, depending on what, if any, credits you are coming in with, and the intensity of your course load. Some choose to get their associates while keeping a full time job, to offset the costs. In this case, expect at least 3 years, but no debt.

An up and coming way to earn an associates degree these days is online. There are many different colleges and universities now offering a nursing degree over the internet. When researching schools, visit the National Council of State Boards of Nursing website and use the links they have to whichever states you'd like to apply to school in. And if choosing the online route, be sure that the entire degree is offered through online courses and not just some of the more basic classes. It would not be fun to do a year's worth of classes online with the University of Alaska and then discover that all of the remaining classes have to be taken in person, on campus. Hope you like the cold!

Once you have applied and been accepted to a school, then comes the real work. You will be put through classroom theory, lab work, clinical experiences, direct patient care experiences and take classes in everything from anatomy to psychology. The classes are pretty grueling and require you to do more than just show up. Nursing school is what separates the dreamers from the achievers. You have to want to be there, you have to study, and you have to perform. But once you have finished that last test, you get to enter the world with a higher level of education, a brighter future, and a more promising pay scale.

After achieving an associates degree, you will need to pass a national licensing examination, called the National Council Licensure Examination, or the NCLEX-RN. Upon passing this, you will officially have the title of RN, Registered Nurse. Now that you hold the title, all that remains is finding a job. The healthcare industry is still on the rise and is expected to boom in the next 4-7 years -- perfect timing for when you graduate with your newly acquired associates degree in nursing.

Kamis, 06 September 2012

Board of Registered Nursing

There are so many nurses working out there with so many different job titles and in so many different locations that it seems almost impossible for anybody to keep track. It is managed by every state having their own board of nursing, with each setting specific responsibilities for their members and their state.

Basically, every state board of nursing is responsible for regulating and upholding safe nursing practices. These boards were originally created over 100 years ago, in an effort to keep the public safe and provide a system of checks and balances in the healthcare world. Each state has a varying number of members, generally ranging between eight and twelve board members. The qualifications differ by state, but most members are RN's or LPNs, and usually a few, or at least the president of the board, has a PhD.

The boards are charged with designing guidelines for suitable and safe nursing and making sure these standards are followed by all registered nurses in the state. In addition to this, the boards issue licenses for RN's and are responsible for keeping track of all expiration dates, and keeping an eye on any nurses who might not be acting in accordance with proper nursing practice.

Every state decides who its board of nursing will report to, be it the governor, a state agency, or another official organization. Whoever they are reporting to is simply double checking that the board is upholding nursing standards as well as the Nurse Practice Act. Every state has their own Nurse Practice Act, but they all cover basic licensing qualifications, which nursing titles are deemed usable, what nurses are allowed to practice, and the consequences for not following the law.

Most, if not all by now, states have their own website for their board of nursing, which are generally very helpful and informative. California, a state that is believed to have the most nurses out of all the country, has a quite descriptive site that details all the duties of their board of registered nursing. They have also created a 24 hour free system to check on RN licenses, available online and over the phone. This way people can verify if a particular person is actually a RN, if they have been inactive or if their license has expired, and if there is any disciplinary action chronicled against the license. You simply need the RN license number, and if that cannot be attained, the board of registered nursing will attempt to help you during business hours with whatever information you do have.

A comprehensive group called the National Council of State Boards of Nursing is a very helpful company for the nursing community that allows all of the separate state boards of nursing a place to discuss issues affecting them all. This organization develops the national examinations and maintains a database called Nursys, which makes nurse licensure information available to the public. Called the NCSBN, they have sixty members on the board from all 50 states as well as other US territories. They have a lot of area to cover and need nurses at the ground level to get involved as well. Stay on top of your license dates, don't let expiration dates lapse, and report unsafe practices. What can you do to help the world of nursing improve?