DiversityNursing Blog

Here's What I Learned By Going Back To School

Posted by Pat Magrath

Thu, Mar 16, 2017 @ 02:29 PM

5882146398_7014d39636_o.jpg.736x0_q85.jpgHave you noticed some people were born knowing what they wanted to do for a career? Not me, I didn’t have a clue. One friend in particular, never wavered. He knew from the time he was a young boy, he wanted to be a doctor. He achieved his goal and he’s an excellent one too!
 
Some people change their career path and have to go back to school. Others go back to school to advance in their current career. Whatever the reason may be, going back to school can be overwhelming and a big deal for many reasons
 
Jennifer Mensik, PHD, RN, FAAN gives us a personal look at her educational journey and shares with us a few things she learned along the way.
 
Have you gone back to Nursing school? Maybe started out in a completely different career and switched to Nursing? What’s your experience?
 
Diversity Education Award

Everyone has a reason for going to nursing school and often different reasons for continuing education beyond that. I am one of the few RNs I know at my age who decided to become a nurse when I was in high school. Living in Washington state at the time, I participated in the Running Start program, which allowed me to take college prerequisite courses at the local community college. The tuition was covered by the high school; I just paid for books. I completed my nursing school prerequisites and applied to the associate’s degree in nursing program my senior year of high school.

As a sophomore in high school, I wanted to be a nurse practitioner. I knew once I was done with my ADN, I would transfer to Washington State University for my BSN. I had even chosen my NP program. I am quite the type A personality and had my life planned in 10th grade! Interestingly, my high school counselor always questioned my decision to go into nursing. And  while progressing through nursing school, I actually did change my mind. Because I have a type A personality, changing my planned path was difficult. It was one that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time, but I am thankful for today. I often reflect and tell others about what I learned along my 12-year journey. Here are the most important pieces of my self-reflection.

Pay attention to what piques your interest

As I started my RN to BSN program, I was still bound and determined to be a nurse practitioner. However, I really didn’t like pathophysiology nor pharmacology. I slugged through the material because I needed to learn it. But then came a leadership course. And as I was reading articles, I fell in love with the content. What I noticed was that many authors, all RNs, had MBAs. This made me pause. This was something I had not considered, primarily because I had never been exposed to it. As I finished my BSN, I decided I was going to get my MBA and not be a nurse practitioner.

Many of us get preconceived ideas of what we want to do based on what we know at the time. And many of us continue down a path because we do not pause to really determine if that is what we should still do. As you think about your next steps and what you want to do, pause and think. What piques your interest? Life is too short to not do what you love.

"Many of us get preconceived ideas of what we want to do based on what we know at the time. And many of us continue down a path because we do not pause to really determine if that is what we should still do.”

You get back what you put into it

During my MBA program, I couldn’t afford the time commitment to be on campus at times, so I chose an online education. At the time, many people were weary of online programs, thinking they lacked rigor and quality. This is where you need to make your own decisions. Regardless of the program type, I have seen students do the minimum work and try to sail through courses, checking off boxes, just to get the degree. As a faculty member, it is so disheartening to see. Why are you selling yourself short? It saddens me every time I overhear nurses say they didn’t learn anything when they went back to school. I am very leery of those individuals.

During my online program, I read everything and worked hard on my papers. I knew this would prepare me to be better at whatever I did. Today, I can tell the difference when I speak with someone who put in great effort to learn compared with the one who did not. It’s difficult to fake knowledge. You either know something or you don’t. So do not just treat this as a hoop to jump or check marks on a to do list. Your time is worth more than that, so spend it learning well. The time and money you are spending on education should make you better — a better nurse, a better person and an example for others. Maybe even an example to your children.

The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know

Once I graduated with a doctoral degree, I proudly used my new initials after my name. What was interesting is that overnight, many people saw me as an expert. The perception was I had a doctoral degree, so I must know what you I’m talking about. In many ways through my dissertation I had become an expert in a particular area. But cue imposter syndrome! I feared I was really a fraud. I had to remind myself that there was no way I would ever know everything. There is so much to learn! You literally could spend every day of your life reading research articles and never know everything. What I learned wasn’t that I knew more than others; what I learned was the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.

So, realize that whatever stage you are at in your career or education or years of experience, there is a world out there much bigger than you or I could ever know!  Pause and think — are you happy with what you are doing and where you are going? Are you taking advantage of learning? And realize that no one knows everything. We are all lifelong learners.

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Topics: nursing school, continuing education

Meet The Father-Son Nursing Duo

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Jan 06, 2017 @ 11:23 AM

fathersonnurses.jpg
There's an old saying, "If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life." Chris Graham was working a job he didn't love and decided it’s never too late to get a job that you do love. 
 
He wanted to become a Nurse. Somehow, he managed to get his Nursing degree with 4 children to take care of at home. One of those children followed in his father's footsteps and graduated from the same Nursing School. The legacy will continue as another one of Chris's kids has been accepted to Nursing school. What a wonderful role model Chris is for his family.

A strong connection with an anesthesiologist at the mechanic shop he worked in inspired Chris Graham to pursue nursing school, but little did he know that years later, he would inspire his son to do the same thing.

Graham, a 48-year-old resident of Baton Rouge, walked across the stage to graduate from Our Lady of the Lake College in 1999, and a few weeks ago, his second son, Stefin, accomplished the same feat when he received his diploma from the newly dubbed Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

Chris serves as the director of Nursing at Jefferson Oaks Behavioral Health, and Stefin has been hired to work in the intensive care unit at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital.

In 1995, Chris was working at BMW of North America as a mechanic, married to a schoolteacher and the proud father of two sons, but he knew that eventually he wanted to pursue another career path.

Although he didn’t know exactly which field he would pursue, Chris began taking prerequisite courses at night while working a 40-plus hour workweek at the mechanic shop.

It wasn’t until he struck up a relationship with a local anesthesiologist who became a regular at the shop that he decided to turn toward the medical field.

“I said, ‘Doc, I can’t go to nursing school with these kids,’ and he said, ‘Aw, yeah you can. Just put your mind to it.’ Long story short, I ended up registering at Our Lady of the Lake College, and in 1996, I took my first nursing class,” Chris said.

Being accepted into the program was only the first of many hurdles he had to overcome on the long road to graduation.

“Once I got accepted into nursing school, we had two more children,” said Chris. “My wife, Jeri, was a full-time teacher, and I quit working for BMW North America and put all my efforts into nursing school. At that point, I became a stay-at-home dad, and we went from having my six-digit salary to living on a teacher’s salary, which was tough with four kids and a house. Somehow, we got through it, though, and I love what I do.”

Chris’ hard work did not go unnoticed, since he was the first person to receive the Dr. John Beven Award for graduates who exemplify the art and science of nursing, and years later his second son, Stefin, chose to pursue the same career path.

Stefin said, “I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when my dad graduated from nursing school, and I didn’t realize what a big feat that was until I was older. He didn’t just have me, he was also taking care of my two younger brothers and my older brother, so he graduated nursing school with four kids.”

Although watching his dad was inspiring, for Stefin, the decision to pursue nursing was solidified while doing service hours as a high school senior.

Stefin said, “When I was in high school, I had to do service hours, and my dad helped me get those by bringing me with him to work. He worked in a surgery center, and I would go with him to see the patients. I loved seeing what he did as a nurse, and I felt like that was the type of trade I could enjoy and pursue.”

Growing up, Stefin always felt drawn toward caretaking roles, so the unit he chose to work on was a natural fit for him.

Stefin said, “I feel like I was always called to be a caregiver to other people, and my faith teaches me that in serving others we are served. About halfway through school, we did our ICU rotations, and I really fell in love with it. You get to take care of the most vulnerable patients who often can’t speak for themselves.”

The nursing legacy of the Graham family will be continued when the fourth Graham son, 18-year-old Austin, starts classes in the fall at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University.

For Chris, seeing his sons follow in his footsteps is an honor unmatched by little else.

Chris said, “It makes you wonder: Did they mimic and learn from me, and did I help to encourage this somehow? I teach my children to go after their own aspirations, not what other people tell them to do, so it’s been humbling to see them pursue nursing.”

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Topics: nursing school, father and son Nurses

After 2 Liver Transplants Woman Becomes Transplant Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Jun 17, 2015 @ 12:31 PM

By Erica Bettencourt

LaurieLukianov061615 resized 600

When did you first know you wanted to be a Nurse?

This story is very touching about a patient’s perspective of Nurses at a very young age. Her experience with the Nurses who cared for her over the years, made Nursing an obvious choice for her.

Laurie Lukianov, 26, is a woman from Massachusetts who received two liver transplants as a child and is now working to become a transplant nurse. She told Boston Children's Hospital's blog “There is no question in my mind. Since I was 3 years old, I wanted to be a nurse.”

Laurie was born with biliary atresia and she needed liver transplants to save her life. At 3 years old she made headlines when she became one of the first patients in the country to receive a liver transplant from a living donor -- her father, Alex Lukianov.

When she was 13, Laurie Lukianov needed a second liver transplant. It came from an organ donor, and she had to fight for her life.

"I had 13 emergency surgeries from the two-week span from the initial transplant," Laurie Lukianov said.

But she won the fight and continued on to good health with the help of her family, a great surgeon and nurses.

Now the mother to a 6-year-old boy, already works in a local emergency room and is finishing her first year of nursing school.

Laurie Lukianov is also an advocate for organ donation. She tries to let potential donors know that the medical staff will do everything to save a life. Sometimes modern medicine falls short but, the gift of life is never lost on the recipient. 

Topics: emergency room, nursing school, nurse, transplant nurse, liver transplant, biliary atresia, organ donation

IOM Halftime Report: Are Future of Nursing Goals Within Reach?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Mar 11, 2015 @ 02:26 PM

Heather Stringer

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In 2010, the Institute of Medicine issued eight recommendations that dared to transform the nursing profession by 2020. This year marks the midway point for reaching the goals outlined in the report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” and statistics at halftime offer a glimpse into nursing’s progress so far.

Although the numbers in some areas have altered little in the first few years, infrastructure changes have been set in motion that will lead to more noticeable improvements in the data in the next several years, said Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation senior adviser for nursing. The RWJF partnered with the IOM to produce the report. 

“I am a very impatient person and would like things to move faster, but we have to remember that we are changing social norms with these goals,” Hassmiller said. “We are trying, for example, to convince hospital leaders, nursing students and educational institutions that it is important for nurses to have a baccalaureate degree, and that takes time.”

Hassmiller is referring to Recommendation 4 of the report, which calls academic nurse leaders across all schools of nursing to work together to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree from 50% to 80% by 2020. The most recent data collected from the American Community Survey by the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action found that the percentage of employed nurses with a bachelor’s degree or higher only climbed 2% between 2010 and 2013. However, Hassmiller suggested the percentage is likely to increase rapidly in coming years because nursing schools have increased capacity to accommodate more students. As a result, the number of nurses enrolled in RN-to-BSN programs skyrocketed between 2010 and 2014, from about 77,000 nurses in 2010 to 130,300 students in 2014, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing — a 69% increase. 

New education models

Campaign for Action leaders also are optimistic about the profession’s ability to approach the 80% goal because nursing schools are beginning to experiment with new models of education, such as bringing BSN programs to community colleges. 

Traditionally, students spend at least three years in a community college earning an associate’s degree to become an RN — at least a year for prerequisites and another two to complete the nursing program, Hassmiller said. These RNs may work for a few years before returning to school to earn a BSN — and some may not return at all, said Jenny Landen, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, dean of the School of Health, Math and Sciences at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico. To avoid losing potential BSN students, leaders from New Mexico’s university and community colleges began meeting to discuss a new paradigm: students who were dually enrolled in a community college and a university BSN program. 

The educators started by forming a common statewide baccalaureate curriculum that would be used by all community colleges and universities, Landen said. The educators also discussed how to pool resources, such as offering university courses online at local community colleges. “This opens the opportunity of earning a BSN to people who need to stay in their communities during school,” she said. “They may have family commitments locally, and they can take the baccalaureate degree courses at the community college tuition fee, which is much less expensive.”

Four community colleges in New Mexico have launched dual enrollment programs within the last year. At Santa Fe Community College, there are far more applicants than the program can hold, Landen said. Community colleges and universities in other parts of the country also are working together to create programs in which nursing students can be dually enrolled. In addition to nursing schools buying into the need for more BSN-prepared nurses, there also is evidence that employers are moving toward this new standard as well. According to a study released in February in the Journal of Nursing Administration, the percentage of institutions requiring a BSN when hiring new RNs jumped from 9% to 19% between 2011 and 2013. 

Beyond the BSN

So far, the national data related to Recommendation 5 — double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020 — suggests there have been minimal changes in the number of employed nurses with a doctorate, yet there has been a significant increase in the number of students pursuing this level of education. According to the JONA article, on average about 3.1% of employed nurses in all institutions had a doctorate in 2011. This rose to 3.6% in 2013. This percentage likely will increase in the coming years because of the proliferation of doctor of nursing practice programs since 2010. These programs are geared for advanced practice RNs who are interested in returning to the clinical setting after earning a doctoral degree. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of students enrolled in DNP programs doubled from just over 7,000 students to more than 14,600. There was a lesser increase in the number of students enrolled in PhD programs, up 12% from 4,600 to 5,100, according to the AACN. 

“When the DNP degree became an option, it opened the opportunity of a higher level of education to the working nurse, not the researcher, and that was attractive to many nurses,” said Pat Polansky, MS, RN, director of program development and implementation at the Center to Champion Nursing in America. “Getting a research-based PhD takes longer and not every nurse can do that, so the DNP has become a wonderful option.”

Leaders at the Campaign for Action, however, acknowledge that it is important to find strategies to boost the number of PhD-prepared nurses because the profession needs those nurses in academia and other administrative, research or entrepreneurial roles where they are contributing to the solutions of a transformed healthcare system, Hassmiller said. To encourage more nurses to pursue the path of a PhD, in 2014 the RWJF launched the Future of Nursing Scholars Program, which awards $75,000 per scholar pursuing a PhD. This is matched with $50,000 by the student’s school, and the funds can be used over the course of three years. 

Forging ahead

In December, the nursing profession will have another opportunity to assess progress on the recommendations when the IOM releases findings from a study that is under way to assess the national impact of the Future of Nursing report. The changes happening in areas such as education are remarkable, Hassmiller said, and she is eagerly anticipating the results from the current IOM study. 

“I would never modify the goals because you need something to strive for in order to affect change,” Hassmiller said. “I am extremely encouraged because we have never seen anything like this. For the first time in history, more than half of nurses have a bachelor’s degree, and it is going to keep climbing. The most challenging part has been the number of people that need to be influenced to make the business case as to why it is important, and it is finally happening.” 

Key recommendations from “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health”

1) Remove scope-of-practice barriers.
2) Expand opportunities for nurses to lead and diffuse collaborative improvement efforts. 
3) Implement nurse residency programs.
4) Increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80% by 2020. 
5) Double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020.
6) Ensure that nurses engage in lifelong learning.
7) Prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health. 
8) Build an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of interprofessional healthcare workforce data.

Source: http://news.nurse.com

Topics: medical school, nursing school, programs, nursing, health, healthcare, nurse, nurses, health care, medical, degree, residency, academic nurse

The top 10 things you’ve learned on the job

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Fri, Jan 17, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

BY 

describe the imageThe day has finally come: You’ve graduated from nursing school, passed the NCLEX and finally landed your dream job. Now comes the tough/awesome/rewarding part—actually working as a nurse!

When you’re just starting out, it can be tough to know who to listen to and what advice is actually relevant to you. So we asked our Facebook fans for the number-one thing they’ve learned on the job as nurses. Check out their smart, funny and inspiring responses—then let us know what you’d add to the list.

The top 10 things you’ve learned on the job

1. Never pass up an opportunity to eat or pee.
—Sylvia Moose Garza

2. You can have a nurse title if you pass state boards, but you can only be a real nurse by having empathy, compassion and treating your patients as individuals—not room numbers or bed numbers. They are humans with their own souls.
—Vicky Kelly

3. If it’s open, it could squirt.
—Melissa Thomas Goodson

4. Never underestimate the value of listening to a patient and their troubles for a few minutes. Sometimes your ear can make all the difference in somebody’s day, year, situation or sleepless night.
—Diane Byrne

5. Nursing is 10 percent skill and 90 percent communication.
—Becky Peters Lay

6. Stay calm and don’t panic—98 percent of what you do can’t kill or hurt anyone (I got this piece of advice from a 35-year vet nurse who was my proctor on my first day!).
—Anne Marie Dzmura

7. Never, never, ever assume ANYTHING!
—Demita Crofford

8. A little teamwork goes a long way!
—Kacy Elisha Holland

9. Always be an advocate. Never be afraid to speak up for your patients’ best interest!
—Monica Springhart

10. Don’t take life for granted. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the simple things, like the ability to take a shower or the human touch.
—Kendra Ringuette Jenkins

What’s the number-one lesson you’ve learned as a nurse?

Source: Scrubs Mag

Topics: new nurse, advice, nursing school, learn on the job

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