The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University is now offering a postgraduate certificate program in psychiatric mental health. The certificate program, which was approved earlier in February, will begin courses in Fall 2019.
“We know family nurse practitioners assess for mental-health needs across the life span but are limited in treating the needs without the specialized certification,” Mary Minton, associate dean of graduate nursing for SDSU’s College of Nursing, told the SDSU Collegian. “The proposed certificate prepares graduates to provide much needed high-quality mental-health care in a variety of settings in rural and urban South Dakota. It increases much-needed access to psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in our state where a serious shortage currently exists.”
The certificate was created to help with the shortage of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in South Dakota. A publication from the South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce reports that while the state has over 1,100 certified nurse practitioners, only 3.3 percent of them are working in psychiatric mental health.
“This certificate will enhance the scope of practice for the nurse practitioner to provide more holistic health care,” Kay Foland, an SDSU College of Nursing professor, shared with the SDSU Collegian. “Persons needing health care more than likely to have a number of health concerns, including emotional and mental health issues. Completing the psychiatric mental health certificate will better prepare the family nurse practitioner to provide a more comprehensive, competent and evidenced-based practice level of care.”
There is a great need for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, in addition to more healthcare workers as the U.S. continues to suffer a nursing shortage. SDSU approved this certificate program to help address the shortage, so more nurse practitioners can work in outpatient clinics, primary-care units, private practices, community health and community mental health centers, and hospitals. They may also provide services in substance abuse programs, high-risk pregnancy centers, schools, prisons and trauma centers.
The certificate program is a part-time, 18-credit online program designed for advanced practice registered nurses, and family nurse practitioners, to complete in four semesters. For more information on the program, visit www.sdstate.edu/nursing/graduate-nursing/.
Nursing entrance exams make or break a student’s chances for nursing school enrollment. By offering a challenging entrance exam, higher educational institutions screen initial applicants before admission. These tests assess the academic competencies and potential nursing capabilities of students. The chosen nursing entrance test varies by institution.
What is the best admission exam?
In 2015, a study statistically analyzed the pre-admission nursing exam results over five years to determine which tests predict success in an associate degree nursing program (source). The tests surveyed were the Pre-Admission Examination for Registered Nurses (National League of Nursing), the A2 admission assessment from Health Education Systems Inc. (HESI), and the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) from Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI). The analysis demonstrated that the HESI A2 examination scores correlated with success in the nursing program.
How many retakes is too many?
In 2018, studies addressed how nursing admissions should confront the issue where one student takes the entrance exam multiple times. The examinee scores higher with each attempt. The limitation of the study was that it only evaluated those students who scored high enough on the TEAS to be admitted to nursing school and completed the first semester. The results showed that the assurance of nursing success relates to the average of all test attempts. Admission for both ADN and BSN programs should depend on the mean of all score data. However, there must be a limit. Individuals who take the TEAS six or more times have significantly lower nursing performance than their peers (source).
Questions remain regarding the ideal entrance exam and the number of test retakes. It is time to establish a rigorous competency for nursing admissions that is expressly related to program data about student success.
Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife and freelance writer. She has ten years of nursing experience and graduated with a MSN from Frontier Nursing University.
Technical schools have been lobbying Florida state legislators so more students can become registered nurses. As a result, Florida House Bill 381 is under review with the Florida House of Representative’s Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee. Language from the bill states that it would “…[authorize] school district career centers to conduct certain associate degree nursing programs.”
Manatee Technical College is leading the charge on this movement with support from Florida Association for Career and Technical Education. Currently, MTC offers a licensed practical nursing program, but technical schools cannot offer RN programs. If passed, the new legislation will allow Florida technical schools and centers to provide transition programs, where students who complete the licensed program can continue their education. This path could create more opportunities for students to take the state exam and become registered nurses.
“We’re not trying to compete with the state college,” MTC spokeswoman Maura Howl shared with YourObserver.com. “We’re trying to offer our graduates an opportunity they currently don’t have. It’s all about career pathways — to give students stepping stones to progress.”
Florida anticipates that there will be nearly 114,000 openings for registered nurses from 2017 through 2023. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity lists nearly 3900 of those openings within Manatee and Sarasota counties alone.
Keeping Up Nurse Recruitment Efforts
With Florida feeling the nursing shortage, healthcare employers, like Tidewell Hospice, are grateful for more opportunities for nursing students to become registered nurses. Presently, Tidewell has 17 open positions for registered nurses and seven open positions for licensed practical nurses. Cindy Coffman, Vice President of Human Resources at Tidewell, said some roles were posted over four months and have not received any applications.
“None of us can fill the job openings,” Coffman told YourObserver.com. “The applicant volume isn’t there. We’re really feeling it at this point.”
Tidewell has taken several steps to fill its nursing roles, including social media campaigns, hiring a nurse recruiter, and increasing bonuses. Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, another Manatee-Sarasota healthcare provider, has also been using new strategies to keep their nursing positions filled. LRMC Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young explained how the organization offers clinical rotations to local nursing schools, as well as a 12-week residency program.
“We’ve taken these creative steps to really embrace existing and potential new RNs coming into our program,” Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s Director of Marketing Lisa Kirkland told YourObserver.com. “We’re trying to stay one step ahead of the nursing shortage issue.”
As of January 30, the bill is under review with several education subcommittees. If approved, it will go into effect on July 1.
Calling all nurses! Springer Publishing Company has launched the 2019 Nursing Career Survey, and we want to hear from you!
This study is designed for professional nurses and nursing students in every stage of their careers. Springer Publishing Company is surveying nurses to find out more about your professional paths, academic achievements, and leadership goals.
We are interested in learning about what steps you take and what tools you use to further your career, whether you’re just starting out or you’re thinking about pursuing a specialty. Your feedback will help us determine how we can better serve you and your needs in your nursing careers.
As always, there’s a perk for participating and helping Springer Publishing Company report the most up-to-date nursing career data. Survey participants will be entered to win one of five $25 Amazon gift cards!
Click here now to participate in the survey. We look forward to hearing your responses!
Katherine Kuren Black, MSN, RN-BC, shares insights from her book
The New Jersey Action Coalition, in response to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to implement nurse residency programs across all practice settings, initiated a statewide program for new graduate RNs working in post-acute care (PAC) beginning in 2014. To date, more than 100 nurses and their experienced preceptors from more than 50 facilities in the state have completed this education program. The new book, Developing a Residency in Post-Acute Care, that I co-authored shares the experiences, program content and lessons learned from that innovative project.
How can this book help nurse leaders in post-acute settings to meet the challenges they presently face to provide safe, person-centered, evidence-based nursing care? It provides current, ready-to-use education for PAC nurses as well as other caregivers. Nurses in PAC strive to care for increasingly complex patients; adapt to new regulations and financial restrictions; and incorporate patient care technologies previously unknown outside of acute care. The rapid rate of change is unprecedented, requiring continual, stressful and swift improvements in knowledge and skill. Preventing rehospitalization alone requires a nursing staff with proficiency in assessment, early identification of deterioration, and appropriate intervention. Adding to this environment is high nurse turnover with vacancies expected to increase as experienced nurses retire. These events will create a practice gap that nurse leaders will have to fill, much of it with education to insure the competence and confidence of nursing staff.
Clinical safety and competence are always critically important; however, nurses must be knowledgeable and skilled in many areas in order to be effective. For example, teamwork and collaboration are essential to thriving in an interprofessional environment. Expertise in communication is required for all interactions with patients, families and colleagues; and as consumers develop greater expectations for care, communication becomes an indispensable skill. Regulatory expectations for nurses to participate in evaluating and implementing best practices as well as leading performance improvement projects requires education in these areas as well. These are among the topics detailed in Developing a Residency in Post-Acute Care.
The need to intensify nursing professional development in PAC is compounded by often limited resources. Nurse educators with a dedicated role are less common than in acute care, and responsibility for education often falls on someone with multiple jobs. Management, infection control and/or employee health are commonly combined functions, and these may take precedence over education. PAC care settings may not be able to afford subscriptions to print or online journals, and usually do not have access to medical libraries. Even with those resources, the time to research best practices or innovative solutions to problems probably does not exist in the extremely busy life of a PAC nurse leader. The Internet is a vast store of educational resources, but locating and evaluating options can be very time consuming. This book can dramatically reduce the amount of effort spent researching and preparing educational sessions by suggesting content, methods and literature/media sources.
With education come increased nurse confidence, greater accomplishment and the possibility of role expansion. With that, staff engagement and satisfaction increase, yielding the added benefits of improved retention, workplace stabilization, renewed professional energy and a more successful PAC setting.
This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.
Luis considered going to work at a private-sector hospital following military service. But he chose a career as a nurse at VA, in part after benefiting from the care and comradery of VA.
“Being a Vet myself, I would like to influence how other Veterans are taken care of and the overall environment,” Luis says in a video. “I felt more comfortable here, so I think I can contribute more here.”
Luis’s story is a reminder that many Veterans choose VA healthcare careers for the chance to work with and care for others who have served and use their military skills in a civilian job.
“While in the service, I was a hospital corpsman,” he said. “My service, I feel, just carried on from there.”
Choose VA to advance in nursing
Veterans like Luis have flourishing nursing careers at VA, by applying skills learned in the military and by taking advantage of the many opportunities for continuing education and professional development.
VA is the nation’s largest employer of nurses, with programs in student employment, residency and orientation and nursing education scholarship programs such as the National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI).
“Whether nurses are LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) or RNs (registered nurses), they can move up,” said Marlene Brewster, associate director for Nursing and Patient Care Services at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in another video.
NNEI supports nurses like Luis with obtaining baccalaureate and advanced nursing degrees such as bachelor’s, master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice from an accredited education program.
Luis is getting his bachelor’s degree through the initiative. After graduation, he plans to study for a master’s degree, he said.
Choose VA today
“There’s a lot more benefits here than you might see on first glance,” he said.
Luis chose a VA nursing career to care for other Veterans and to learn and grow on the job.
This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.