Herzing University recently opened a new Associate of Science in Nursing degree on its Birmingham campus to meet the growing need for registered nurses in Alabama. The two-year program will prepare students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for registered nurses exam (NCLEX-RN) and become a licensed registered nurse (RN).
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual job growth rate for RNs in Alabama is projected to reach more than 15 percent. The new degree program at Herzing is ideal for students who want to pursue a career in nursing, offering clinical education opportunities in high-fidelity simulation training labs with state-of-the-art technology.
Tommy Dennis, Birmingham Campus President at Herzing, tells Herzing.edu, “We’re launching this program in Birmingham because we’ve seen the demand for RNs first-hand at our campus career fairs and through our community partnerships. We’re proud to offer educational opportunities that fulfill a community need and make a positive difference in the lives of students.”
To learn more about the new Associate of Science in Nursing degree at Herzing University, visit here.
On Dec. 20, the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Nursing graduated 20 students from its online RN to BSN program. These students are “pioneers of a sort” as they were the first to graduate from the program which is the only online RN to BSN program in the state offered by a public university.
After the release of a 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommending that 80 percent of nurses nationwide hold bachelor’s degree by 2020, there has been an increase in RN to BSN programs across the country. The IOM report included research indicating that patients have better outcomes when cared for by a nurse with a bachelor’s degree.
RN to BSN programs are designed to accommodate professional nurses who want to pursue bachelor’s degrees while still working. URI’s online program complements the traditional face-to-face RN to BSN program by allowing students to participate on their own schedule. The program includes intense courses that are covered in 7 weeks rather than the usual 13 week semester. Students are required to complete six nursing courses, statistics, pharmacology, and a public health practicum.
URI’s online RN to BSN program started in Fall 2015 with 30 students and now enrolls over 450 students from all over the country. The program is expected to continue growing as another 35 graduate this coming May.
To help fill the significant need for registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees in Minnesota, Rasmussen College is launching two accelerated entrance nursing programs for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Rasmussen College is a private college with its BSN degree program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
A 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report titled The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education, recommends that the number of registered nurses (RNs) with bachelor’s degrees increases 80 percent by 2020 to meet the needs of the evolving US healthcare system and its aging population. The demand for BSN educated RNs in Minnesota has grown 170 percent statewide, with over 6,500 job postings in Minnesota for RNs with bachelor’s degrees in the last year, compared to 2,400 five years ago.
Designed for students who want to start their nursing careers as quickly as possible, the accelerated entrance programs will be offered at Rasmussen’s Bloomington and Mankato, MN campuses beginning in January 2017. Rasmussen will be offering two accelerated pre-licensure entrance options: Second Degree Entrance Option and Standard Entrance Option. The Second Degree Entrance Option is for anyone who already holds a bachelor’s degree in another field of study and now wants to complete their BSN, a track that can be completed in 18 months. The Standard Entrance Option is for students who do not already hold a bachelor’s degree, and the program can be completed in 33 months.
Three other higher education institutions in Minnesota also offered accelerated entrance options for BSN degrees to non-nursing college graduates in 2015 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). In addition to their accelerated entrance programs, Rasmussen also offers an online RN to BSN degree program for RNs who received their degree through an associate’s degree program and are looking to advance their nursing careers.
With roughly 1,400 openings for nurses in the Ocala area alone, many nurses with associate’s degrees are trying to fill those available spots by becoming RNs. However, despite the nursing shortage and addition of new nursing programs, finding an available slot in nursing schools has been an ongoing difficulty for many students.
Getting into nursing school isn’t the end of the battle with many programs offering a rigorous curriculum in addition to requiring extensive clinical training. Rasmussen, however, will be making clinical hours easier for its students. Due to a change in state law, nursing students are allowed to spend 50 percent of required clinical hours in simulated settings, prompting Rasmussen to offer state-of-the-art simulation training.
Karen Guty, Dean of Nursing at Rasmussen, believes that while live patient care training is still vital to becoming an RN, students can often learn even more from simulated settings. Students at Rasmussen receive real-life training with high-tech mannequins that simulate serious illnesses for students to diagnose and treat. In live clinic settings students are usually asked to check blood pressure and vitals, not thrust into emergency situations like during simulation training.
Rasmussen believes nursing programs are vital to closing the national RN gap. With RN workforces expected to grow 19 percent to 3.24 million openings by 2022, RNs are desperately needed. The new School of Nursing will be a big step in educating more registered nurses with 500 students currently enrolled at their two campuses.
Have you ever wondered about travel nursing and how you could make it work for you? I interviewed Austin Rogers, an emergency room (ER) travel nurse currently on assignment in California, about some of his most memorable moments from travel nursing so far.
When did you first hear about travel nursing? How did you decide to go down this road?
I heard about travel nursing while I was taking my prerequisites for nursing school when I was 23 years old. When I heard the details of being a traveling nurse, they were pretty glamorized. Nurses at that time were making six figures, and did not pay for their housing or airfare. To make that much money today you really have to work the system, and you can only get to six figures if you factor in any payments for your housing, meals, incidentals, and relocation fees. I’m not complaining by any means, but from what I’ve heard from veteran travelers, travel nursing isn’t what it used to be. I loved the idea of traveling—seeing new places, getting free housing, and being paid more than staff nurses generally make.
Where did you start your nursing career?
I started my career as a staff nurse at an ER in Springfield, Missouri. As a brand new baby nurse, straight out of the gate, I was making $18.50 per hour. Springfield has eight nursing schools and two massive level-one trauma centers, with their sister facilities scattered about. The only thing these two large hospitals agreed upon was how low to pay their employees. If you don’t like your pay, don’t worry, you’re replaceable!
Travel nurses started coming to our facility during trauma season to help with the massive influx of patients. These traveling nurses sometimes had fewer responsibilities—fewer traumas, strokes, cardiac arrests, codes in progress, and triage. At the time, they didn’t have as many challenging patients to take care of. I became good friends with a few of the travelers that came through, and they began to tell me about their lives and their pay. They were making $48 an hour, with a $400 travel reimbursement there, $400 for return travel, and $500 per week for housing (tax free). When I saw a friend’s paycheck, I knew I needed to get the travel ball in motion.
Where did you start your traveling adventure?
I did make one early mistake: I was too excited and just wanted to get out of Missouri, so I was spontaneous and irrational, and jumped at my first offer. I only had one recruiter through one agency, and I was easily persuaded by the intense pressure my recruiter put on me. My first assignment was in Lanham, Maryland. After a short time of working there I realized that I was actually making less money than staff nurses at this facility.
At my first hospital, the patient loads were unreal, unsafe, and not fair to the patients or the RN who was spread too thin. As a traveler, I quickly realized that techs avoided me because they knew I had a lot of questions and would often need help. Codes were probably the scariest thing to do at this hospital. I was taken advantage of as a traveling nurse at this facility. I’d typically have at least one intubated patient at the time of a code. The facility was so short-staffed that a code team would only be a charge nurse, a doctor, and me. I held on tight and worked my butt off every shift to keep my license. Incidentally, my first recruiter was fired during the time I worked at this facility, and the agency wasn’t kind to its employees.
Wow. So where did you go next?
My second assignment was in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, where I was making only equal to the staff rate. \This was another situation where the staffing was low (naturally, this is the reason the hospital needs travelers). I was stretched even more thin, and I didn’t jive with the staff there—it was very cliquey and unfriendly. One day I had six very acute patients at once: one was intubated, one was receiving a heparin infusion, three were lower acuity, and one was a combative, hostile, and aggressive patient on K2 [synthetic marijuana] or PCP. This patient was being observed in the psychiatric pod with cameras. I felt unsafe with this assignment, and so I asked the physician to reevaluate the patient and possibly prescribe a sedative. The doctor refused, and a few minutes later the patient jumped up to the ceiling, ripped out the sprinkler head, and began flooding the entire ED.
Now that we have a patient flooding our basement and letting him out of the pod so that he doesn’t drown in the pod, we take him out into a glass room and finally get him medications. Meanwhile, the other staff members did not help me at all.
Yikes. I’m guessing you didn’t choose to extend that contract?
Oh no. I completed another hell of an assignment and finally got my DC license. This is when I met my favorite coworkers and friends at my DC hospital assignment. Finally a location with cool people, good money, and in a really cool city!
The patients were very challenging, don’t get me wrong, but I can handle just about anything with the right people behind me.
So it sounds like the DC assignment was very big on teamwork.
Exactly! A lot of locations are more “you’re on your own.” I liked the team atmosphere, it was a lot of fun and made it more bearable, even though staffing in that hospital was equal to or worse than some of the others.
Where to next?
I was actually given an attractive offer to extend my contract at the DC facility, so I did that contract for 13 more weeks. I was really sad to leave the group of people I had become most fond of in the past few years. When the contract was completed, I went on a much-needed vacation to South America. I was so excited to take a trip after working so hard on so many back-to-back assignments. Unfortunately, while we were there, the place where I was staying was burglarized. I was awoken at gunpoint, pistol whipped, and stabbed a couple of times.
That sounds horrific. Is everyone OK?
Yes. Thankfully, because of the flexibility and income-security travel nursing has afforded me, I was able to take additional time off for physical and mental healing after this incident. There’s not another job at you can work 8 months out of the year and control your schedule!
When you were feeling ready, where did you go next?
San Diego, baby! I took a pediatric assignment in a hospital downtown. Night shift was rough, but it was right on the ocean, and I was surfing in January. (By surfing, I mean I would go out to the ocean, drink a lot of saltwater, nearly vomit, and totally get my butt kicked by the waves. But still! In January!)
I loved this assignment because of the weather, the chill personalities of my coworkers, and the amazing stuff to do outdoors all year. I was able to round up all the local coworkers to go on adventures every day we had off. It was amazing!
You’re making me very jealous.
But wait, there’s more! I just arrived at my next assignment that starts in just a few days in Lakeport, California. I’ve already taken three months off this year (and it’s only June!). So far in 2016, I went sailing in the Virgin Islands, camped all over California, and explored the West Coast. I’m already in love with Lakeport. I’ll be making nearly the same amount of money as I was in DC, even working 12 fewer hours per week. And it’s absolutely breathtaking here. The cost of living is very low, too—I’ve got a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a two-car garage in a gated community. Did I mention the heated pool with a pool house, marina/boat dock,and a yacht club? All for $1395 a month.
Well it’s official, I’m moving. Any advice to give to others starting their travel nursing journey, who want to live the dream you’ve described?
Although not impossible to work about it, as I did, I would recommend not to bring a dog, and not to be a homeowner (but do have your name on utilities of your parents house, and have your mail shipped there). Work to try and be able to afford an RV (motor home or fifth wheel) so that moving is not such a hassle every three months. Decide whether you want an amazing location/experience or you want the MONEY!
Make sure that you have AT LEAST four companies under your belt—this is crucial! Be ready to break hearts when you move away from them. Travel while you can, and quit making little excuses. Stop saying “I’ll be ready when…”
And lastly, if you’ve got school loans through the hospital that made a contract, BREAK IT! You WILL make it back—plus some—in no time!
The Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Nursing has partnered with Baptist Health Madisonville (Kentucky) to allow Baptist Health nurses to obtain baccalaureate degrees in nursing in as little as one year from the comfort of their own homes. The new program is an online, accelerated RN to BSN nursing program.
SIUE is excited about the opportunity to reach more nurses in Kentucky through their affordable, progressive, and innovative online program. The program is entirely online, offering flexibility for working students. SIUE designed the program specifically for working nurses and RNs who need a flexible degree program that doesn’t require them to stop working while they go back to school.
Baptist Health was founded in 1924 and has been working since to bring advanced technology, modern facilities, and prominent physicians and medical professionals to the communities of Kentucky. The hospital strives to lead a transformation to healthier communities, and they can continue to do so with more of their nurses having access to an affordable and flexible RN to BSN program.
The partnership is intended to help working nurses at Baptist Health continue their education and reach their professional goals while still working. The design of the program provides technical and instructional support available to meet the individuals needs of each student enrolled. Many nurses are faced with the realities of working or providing for a family keeping them from their dreams of higher education, but the new partnership between SIUE and Baptist Health will make those dreams a reality, allowing nurses to continue providing great patient care while pursuing their BSN degree.
SIUE’s School of Nursing programs are committed to excellence in nursing leadership by providing innovate teaching, evidence-based practice, quality research, patient advocacy, and community service. 1,300 students are enrolled in baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral programs at SIUE, developing leaders who will shape the future of the nursing profession. The undergraduate nursing program at SIUE is helping to solve the shortage of BSN-prepared nurses around the country, while simultaneously enhancing the quality of nursing practice. The graduate programs at SIUE are intended to prepare nurses for advanced clinical practice, administration, and education roles.