High ethical standards are essential in healthcare. Four fundamental principles lay the foundation for healthcare ethics.
Autonomy honors patients’ right to make their own decisions.
Beneficence helps patients advance their own good.
Nonmaleficence does no harm to patients.
Justice ensures that patients are treated equally, fairly and impartially.
Current ethical issues in healthcare center on these guiding principles. Healthcare professionals must be prepared to navigate the following issues.
5 Ethical Issues in Healthcare
1. Improving Access to Care
The Department of Health and Human Services identified access to healthcare as an objective for its Healthy People 2010 and Healthy People 2020 initiatives. In 2012, only 83.1 percent of people had medical insurance. The latest figures from the National Health Interview Survey show that 12.5 percent of adults under age 65 are uninsured. Improving access to care has been a central issue in healthcare for many years. This includes not just private insurance but also Medicare, Medicaid, military and other government health insurance plans.
2. Protecting Patient Privacy and Confidentiality
Violating a patient’s privacy and confidentiality can have legal and ethical consequences for healthcare providers and professionals. Patients’ medical information is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Topics like increases in data breaches and smartphone usage highlight the ongoing need to understand this ethical issue.
3. Building and Maintaining a Strong Healthcare Workforce
“The U.S. has been dealing with a nursing deficit of varying degrees for decades, but today … this shortage is on the cusp of becoming a crisis, one with worrying implications for patients and health-care providers alike,” according to The Atlantic. An aging population, the rising prevalence of chronic disease and an aging nursing workforce are contributing to the shortage.
If healthcare providers are unable to develop and sustain a strong workforce, patient care will suffer, as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing notes. Yet, accomplishing this in the midst of a nursing shortage is difficult. Nurse retention strategies should become a central focus for all hospitals and healthcare institutions.
4. Marketing Practices
As of 2016, the U.S. healthcare industry was spending almost $30 billion per year in marketing and advertising to consumers, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. Yet some question the ethics of a healthcare provider spending so much to promote its services or even a specific medicine or technology (whether or not the maker is named). Examples of hospitals getting involved in commercial endorsements for pay have highlighted this issue even more.
An institution can have ethics committees review the facility’s marketing practices to help prevent any missteps. Healthcare professionals should consult with their employer before making testimonials.
5. Care Quality vs. Efficiency
Balancing quality and safety with efficiency is a difficult challenge, which is amplified given the increasing pressure hospitals face to lower the cost of healthcare while improving quality. “It raises a real question about whether the right values are driving our focus in our healthcare system,” Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, told AMN Healthcare Briefings. “Should efficiency be the driver?”
The Role of Nursing Leaders
Skilled and knowledgeable nursing leaders can oversee nursing staff members, helping and mentoring them along the way. More leadership in nursing is needed to achieve a higher quality of care and properly respond to major ethical issues.
Alvernia University’s online RN to BSN Completion Program helps nurses enhance their careers and pursue leadership positions. In a flexible and convenient online environment, the programs allow nurses to reach their goals while maintaining their current work and personal schedules.
Only one group of Americans has more than doubled in size over the past twenty years: the elderly. They’ve experienced more than most in their lifetimes, from world wars to the first man on the moon. Thanks to lengthening life spans, they have much more to experience; over 41.4 million Americans are 65 and older – that’s more than 13.3 percent of the total U.S. population.1
As this golden group ages, how can we serve and love the elders that hold such a special place in our communities and families?
The role of geriatric social workers includes:
Helping senior citizens cope with common problems experienced by the elderly
Ensuring the needs of their clients are met from day-to-day
Providing aid with financial issues, medical care, mental disorders and social problems
Geriatric care manager
Care managers help the elderly and their loved ones develop a long-term care plan and connect with necessary services.
Healthcare business manager
These managers make sure healthcare facilities provide the most effective patient care. This includes planning and coordinating services in hospitals and clinics.
Art therapy uses the visual and auditory arts to help restore function and general wellbeing. Benefits can include:
Increased cognitive skills
Improved motor skills
78 percent of art therapists report working with older adults on a regular basis.2
Grief counselors help seniors process bereavement and loss, as well as cope with thoughts of their own death.
Assisted living administrator
Administrators manage assisted living facilities or services, which provide care to adults who need help with daily tasks like bathing, eating and dressing.
These educators provide the elderly with lessons that inform them about health concerns.
Physical therapists help aging adults strengthen their muscles, increase mobility and improve endurance. They also help with recovery from an injury or illness.
HELPING AND HEALING
The elderly are likely to face hardships, but with our help, they don’t have to go through them alone.
Bereavement and loss
A natural part of the aging process is experiencing the loss of loved ones as well as coping with one’s own progressing age. Seniors often experience bereavement and loss differently than younger adults, which puts them at risk for depression, anxiety and PTSD. Grieving seniors can benefit from the support others as they work through difficult times.
75 percent of adults 50 and older reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives.3
Family caregivers play a crucial role in keeping the elderly comfortable at home by providing support like:
Loving relationships and companionship
Minimal health and wellness assistance
Support with day-to-day needs
More than 10 percent of the U.S. population have served as unpaid caregivers for older adults.4
Health promotion and self-care
Age can prevent seniors from properly taking care of their bodies, but we can help our loved ones stay beautiful and healthy. Helping the elderly groom themselves, receive regular medical attention and stay active can go a long way in promoting general wellbeing.
In more extreme cases, seniors may experience disabilities or other chronic health conditions. You can support older adults by ensuring they can access the healthcare professionals and resources they need. This might involve assistance with transportation and attending to business, legal and medical concerns.
75 percent of seniors have at least one chronic health condition, and most have two or more.5
End-of-life and palliative care
As our loved ones enter their final days, specialized care can help provide relief from the symptoms and stress. End-of-life and palliative care makes their last days as pain-free and comfortable as possible.
Quality of long-term care
Fortunately, there are a number of geriatric professionals trained to provide excellent care for aging adults in all of these areas. A growing population of the elderly means the demand for these practitioners is greater than ever – and there are more opportunities for you to bring wellness and care into the lives of the elderly than ever.
The rising reliance on big data to help make decisions in healthcare means the need for analysts is rising steadily. Combine this reliance with our growing use of cloud computing – the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted online to store, manage, and process data – and the increasing population of elderly patients, and healthcare analytics is a career that could see an overall 14 percent rise in jobs by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Insurance companies are major employers in the U.S. According to Statista, a statistics clearinghouse, there are around 2.6 million people employed in insurance. Medical actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty of clients and business decisions for insurance companies. They use math and statistics to assess the risk of medical and life events. The 2017 median pay for an actuary is $101,560 and according to the BLS, the field is expected to grow by 22 percent by 2026.
PHARMACEUTICAL AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT DATA
Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health by researching diseases, cures, pharmaceuticals and medical best practices. They often use clinical trials and other investigative methods to produce data that they can then use to reach their findings. New medications require careful analysis of the data collected by researchers. Most people who work in research labs have at least a master’s level of education or are actively pursuing an M.S. in analytics. According to the BLS, in 2017, the median pay for a medical scientist was $82,090 and the field is expected to expand 13 percent by 2026.
Healthcare analysts can work with government or nonprofit agencies to improve healthcare outcomes for various communities, which can be based on locale or demographic. Some of the tasks healthcare analysts may perform include; providing solutions to community health and social problems by conducting and analyzing research, conducting site visits to assess operations and costs of healthcare programs and preparing policy briefs based on their research. The BLS doesn’t offer statistics for healthcare analysts, but Payscale puts the median salary at $62,121. Payscale also reports most people in the field have a master’s degree and, “for the first five to 10 years in this position, pay increases steeply, but any additional experience does not have a big effect on pay,” most likely due to competition for these types of jobs.
PATIENT BEHAVIOR AND SENTIMENT DATA
According to the BLS, medical and health services managers, also called healthcare executives or healthcare administrators, coordinate medical and health services. For these jobs, analyzing patient behavior and sentiment data is critical to make good treatment choices that benefit the patients. They might manage an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department. Health services managers maintain policies that conform to changes in healthcare laws, regulations and technology. In 2017, the median pay for these positions was $98,350 a year.
GET STARTED TODAY
A master’s degree in analytics will prepare you for a well-paying, in-demand job in healthcare analytics, and Notre Dame of Maryland University can help you.
The University offers a fully online Master of Science in Analytics that can help you become an asset in your current role or prepare you for the jobs of the future. NDMU has strong networks with regional businesses and 75 percent of graduates are directly applying their research projects to their jobs.
The word “nurse” brings a very specific picture to mind for most of us. We
picture someone in scrubs working in a hospital or a clinic, helping to treat
patients at the bedside and making rounds. But the skill set developed through
nursing opens up entire worlds beyond that traditional environment. Nursing
jobs away from the bedside are challenging, rewarding and not at all what you’d
From summer camp programs to the NASCAR racetrack, some surprising places need
medical professionals on hand. These career options could offer more work-life
stability, travel opportunities or a shot of adrenaline.
1. Cruise Ship Nurse
A nurse working in this role would help care for a cruise ship’s passengers and staff as part of the ship’s medical personnel. Depending on the size of the ship, the medical facilities could be quite state-of-the-art, rivaling an emergency room in a hospital on land. Cruise ship nurses work in the infirmary and report to the chief nurse. Working in this role requires at least two years of emergency care experience and an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) certification. Working on a cruise ship brings these nurses into contact with people from all over the world, and of course, offers the opportunity to travel. Nursing staff on a cruise ship are divided into three distinct categories: chief nurse, nurse practitioner and staff nurse. Duties here are much the same as nursing on land, but a cruise ship nurse could accompany a patient if they must be evacuated from the ship to land. Tours of duty are six months long, with two months off afterward.
2. Camp Nurse
If you’re someone who prefers the outdoors and doesn’t like to stay in one place for very long, camp nursing could be for you. There are myriad camp organizations that employ camp nurses. There are camps for children diagnosed with cancer, adults with mental disabilities or camps that center around an activity like whitewater rafting or horseback riding. The Association of Camp Nurses (ACN) lists opportunities on their website, so you can browse through them and see which one most closely fits your background. Those with experience in emergency care or pediatrics would be well-suited, and an ability to make decisions independently is key, as camp nurses often work alone. According to PayScale, camp nurses can expect to earn between $22-$41 per hour.
3. Correctional Nurse/Prison Nurse
A nurse working in this role will often be the first person to see an inmate
about a health complaint. A correctional nurse will assess the patient and
determine the requirements of care the same as they would if they were working
in a hospital. They conduct intake screenings, work in chronic care clinics to
help inmates manage chronic conditions, keep track of medications so they
aren’t misused and provide what’s known as “sick call” services. Sick call is
when an inmate requests to see a nurse for a sudden issue, which can result in
an appointment with a physician. This role could also offer the opportunity to
become a coordinator for programs like prison hospice care, in which inmates
are trained to take care of their peers during the final phase of their lives
4. Clinical Nurse Educator/RN Medical
This may be one of the more well-known non-bedside nursing careers, in which an experienced nursing professional opts to instruct others in the practices and techniques of the job. Nurse educators can work in a classroom setting in a university or nursing school, as well as in the field with nurses-in-training or with those who need a clinical education, such as people who work in insurance or public healthcare workers. Because being employed in this role often requires a bachelor’s or other advanced degree, nurse educators can train medical staff to instruct non-medical personnel in medical procedures and equipment. A very high satisfaction rate is reported with this job, and the median salary is just over $75,000 per year, according to PayScale.
5. Nurse Writer/Medical Writer
A background in or passion for writing as well as experience in healthcare can be leveraged into a career as a nurse writer. Their job is to write up training materials, manuals and educational papers for their employers. Nurse writers usually work for a healthcare provider, pharmaceutical company, medical equipment company or something in a similar vein. They must be able to research well, express specialized information in a readable manner and conduct interviews, similar to the duties of a journalist. PayScale reported that job satisfaction rates for this role are also high, and the median salary is similar to that of a nurse educator at just over $70,000 per year.
6. NASCAR Nurse
NASCAR drivers are just as much athletes as players in the NBA or NFL are, and the sport is one of the most popular in North America. When a driver has a crash, medical staff need to be on site to help. NASCAR nurses do initial assessments of the pit crew and drivers after an accident occurs, but a large part of their work is looking after the fans. This role can involve travel as well, if you’re working as an official part of the NASCAR team and following the races as they move across the country. NASCAR nurses also act as liaisons between the team and local medical staff working an event, making sure the proper equipment is on hand to handle anything from dehydration to lacerations and blunt force trauma.
7. Flight Nurse
Perhaps the most action-packed on this list of non-bedside nursing jobs, a flight nurse isn’t what you might think when reading the job title. Rather than working on an aircraft, flight nurse travel to remote locations not easily accessible to help the injured. They provide specialized, hospital-level care to their patients as they’re being airlifted to a medical facility. This can be at the scene of a major accident, between hospitals or in a remote wilderness location. Flight nurse Matt Tederman, in an interview with PBS, detailed the time he had to help a snowmobiler in the rural plains of Omaha with a neck laceration from barbed wire. Helping to bring that patient back, he says, was a reminder of why he does the job. This position requires a BSN and three to five years of experience working in the ER or intensive care unit (ICU).
8. Parish Nurse
Last on our list of non-bedside nursing jobs is the parish nurse. Parish
nurses care for the members of a parish or religious congregation. They
approach their work differently than the other people on this list as they
integrate elements of faith into their work alongside medicine. Relatively new
as nursing specialties go, it was only recognized as such in 1998. Parish
nurses work mostly in churches, but you can also find them in hospitals or
social service agencies, as many hospitals have chapel areas set aside for
people to worship. If a hospital is faith-based, it’s more likely to employ
parish nurses. The duties of a parish nurse include visiting patients,
mentoring members of their religious community, acting as a patient advocate
and starting support groups. Parish nurses are required to hold active RN licenses
and have practiced as an RN for two years or more.
Want to Take the Next Step?
If getting outside of the hospital sounds like the next step in your career, Fairleigh Dickinson University can help you get there. Our accredited RN to BSN online program trains working nurses to deliver comprehensive care to individuals and families in all environments so that you’ll have the skills necessary to become competitive in the job market. If you already have your BSN and are looking to advance your knowledge and care practices, consider our MSN nurse educator online program. We’ll prepare you to become an instructor in collegiate nursing programs. Through a state-of-the-art curriculum, you’ll acquire the training you need to effectively work with students, parents and patients.
One of the most intense, yet most rewarding experiences in the field of nursing can be found in a place you may not expect: the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A day in the life of a neonatal nurse is never the same day twice, with patients ranging from babies who are born mostly healthy to those born with complications. It’s a profession with struggles, but the little victories that make them worthwhile.
In this article, we’ll take a look into the lives of neonatal nurses to find out what exactly their job entails, what it takes to get there, and how you can get started on the path to working in the NICU should you decide it’s the right career path for you. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a neonatal nurse, and what do they actually do,” then read on.
THE DAY TO DAY JOB OF A NEONATAL NURSE
There are four different levels of care in a hospital’s neonatal unit, and a neonatal nurse could be assigned to any one of them, or work multiple levels. The first is the nursery, where healthy, full-term babies go until their parents can take them home from the hospital. Levels two through four are organized in escalating order of severity, with level four housing the most serious cases.
Level two is for babies who were full term but have fallen ill, infants born on the latter end of preterm but still early, and those with more minor health issues. Three is where infants born very prematurely, with major respiratory issues, or with defects. Level four is where babies born with major chronic issues requiring sustained care are placed. Some smaller hospitals will only have levels one and two, and then transfer more serious cases to larger and better-equipped facilities, while some can house all levels of care. In all cases, the duty of the NICU nurse encompasses both care for their infant patients and assisting the parents emotionally coping with the situation.
Kathleen Colduvell, a NICU nurse with a decade of experience under her belt, described the highs and lows of the job — the emotional toll it takes and the reward of seeing a patient make it through — on a blog entry for a nursing website:
A neonatal nurse’s shifts are often 12 hours long, and at variable times, as their tiny patients often need round the clock care. The babies are fed every three hours, and the nurse will often conduct any testing or procedures like blood draws during feedings to make sure the infant can spend the majority of their time on rest and recovery. The amount each baby can eat needs to be monitored and adjusted according to their condition, vitals need to be checked, and a plethora of other variables need attending to for each patient. In addition to these duties, a NICU nurse will often end up helping the babies’ families, explaining care and procedures to them to keep them informed.
A common saying in the nursing world, and to which the NICU is no exception, is that “there is no typical day.” Neonatal nurses have to be close by their patients to lend them the best possible care, especially since babies can’t articulate what may be happening with them. Anyone who describes the job will tell you it can be challenging, but also that they love it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. One nurse described helping parents care for their child for the first time as especially rewarding:
In order to specialize in neonatal nursing, you need to already have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After that, two or more years of experience working with neonatal patients and a passing score on the certification exam for neonatal nursing must be completed. Areas of care recommended for gaining those years of clinical experience include:
Labor and delivery nursing
Well baby nursing
There are two main routes candidates for a neonatal nursing job usually take to become certified: a critical care neonatal nursing certification (CCRN) via the American Association of Critical Care Nursing, or an RNC Certification for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC) via the National Certification Corporation. If you wish to further certify to gain a leg up on the competition and increase your job prospects, you can choose to get one of the following certifications:
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification
Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification
Nurses can pursue some or all of the above to reinforce their professional tool kit. Continuing education programs through accredited providers like the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) are also necessary to remain at the top of your game as you progress along a career path in the NICU.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a rise in demand and a healthy job outlook for the nursing field as a whole over the next decade, and that demand will be even higher for nursing professionals in specialized fields. As a large portion of the nursing workforce nears retirement, more will need to be recruited to replace them. The median salary for a registered nurse is around $73,500 according to the BLS, but respondents on Payscale report an average salary of $97,306.
HOW YOU CAN TAKE THE NEXT STEP
At D’Youville Online, we’ve designed our online RN to BSN program with working nurses in mind, to let you gain the knowledge and skills necessary for the next level of your career on your time. Our courses run the gambit from evidence-based practice to enhancing patient outcomes, and you can complete the clinical component of the program where you already work.
Our program is CCNE accredited and taught by passionate, highly-educated professionals actively working in the field of nursing. A rolling admissions policy means you can sign up when you want, and the program can be completed in as little as two years. If you’re ready to advance yourself and your career visit our website for a detailed breakdown of courses and credit hours required.
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