The Nature of LPN to RN Programs

August 16th, 2010

With a new demand for nurses of all educational backgrounds, new nursing assistants, vocational nurses, and licensed nurses have emerged with all types of backgrounds, ready to jumpstart their career in the nursing community.  This is great for the health care industry, since there may not always be a demand for RNs, but there is clearly a demand for nursing assistants, and LPNs or LVNs.  This type of variety allows hospitals to fluctuate their salaries and give different responsibilities to different nurses, depending on the experience.  While this may seem like a headache to the head administrators, it has worked out well for many hospitals and clinics, although after a few years, many LPNs are ready to take the next step to becoming an RN.  Thus, many colleges began creating LPN to RN programs to expedite this process.  Online education has only increased the prevalence of these programs by making nursing students’ certification easier to gain without missing too much work.

LPNs typically care for people who are sick or injured, under the direction of RNs and doctors, and are in charge of many of the duties we typically associate with RNs.  However, LPNs are confined to a more general area of medicine as compared to RNs, who are able to become more specialized because of their degree and experience.  This is only one of many reasons nursing students decide to take a new career path and earn their RN degree.  Other reasons circle around the heightened responsibility they will receive as RNs (no more supervision) and the salary increases.

Most LPN programs last for a year, and are intended to ensure that the student will be able to handle most types of medical emergencies on the spot.  However, RN programs last two years or longer, causing many students to choose an LPN certification solely because of the time factor.  LPN to RN programs now get rid of any time constraints and allow students to put their previous educational experience in nursing towards their new RN degree.  This saves another year of education and allows students to earn their RN degree much faster than they would have if they had to enroll in RN classes.  LPN to RN programs therefore attract more nursing students who previously did not have the time and money to commit to a full RN program.  This in turn has helped our health care industry and economy because of the new influx of nurses.  Online LPN to RN programs are the most popular source of this degree program, and have helped many nursing students earn their dream job as an RN without the stress of a full RN program. 

 

Why you Should Enroll in an Online LPN to RN Program

August 3rd, 2010

Many LPNs are content with their current schedule – they do not have heightened responsibility in clinics or hospitals, they are not the sole decision-maker of their patient’s well-being, and they don’t have to be put in charge.  However, many other LPNs earn this certification only as a step up before they earn their registration to become an RN.  In fact, most LPNs do not want to stay in their current position because they do not receive as high a salary as RNs and do not get to thoroughly perform as a nurse.   Students typically go through nursing school in order to become a nurse and help people, not to watch others help patients. 

LPN training programs are very easy to get through, which is why many students who do not enjoy schoolwork only complete this one year of training before entering the nursing industry.  While job prospects remain relatively high for LPNs in various industries, they are considerably not as prevalent as prospects for RNs or other higher degrees of nurses.  LPNs, however, are actually involved in a number of the processes that RNs must supervise: they are often at the bedside of most patients, feed them, take their weight, blood pressure, and give injections.  The responsibilities of LPNs typically depend on the clinic and area of the country, although RNs typically have higher responsibilities and definitely receive higher salaries. 

Enrolling in an LPN to RN program allows students to take the experience they have already gained as an LPN and apply that to their nursing program.  The year-long LPN programs often cannot teach students everything they need to know to truly be on their own as an RN – many LPN programs do not even require a high school diploma, which is debilitating for a top-rated hospital or clinic.  Most patients do not want to be treated by a nurse who did not complete their high school education.  However, after enrolling in an LPN to RN program, every student must complete their high school diploma and additionally complete several more years of nursing study as well as clinical practice. 

Online programs additionally help LPN students more so than traditional colleges since they are able to calibrate their courses according to the student’s level of study.  LPNs are typically at a specific level in the nursing community, one which is easy to meet and grow from through an LPN to RN program.  Nursing requires more than just a year commitment, which is why RNs have a higher responsibility (and salary) than other degrees of nurses; after earning your RN, you will be able to fully appreciate your role within the medical community. 
 

The Hottest Jobs in Nursing Today

July 28th, 2010

Nursing is a hot job already, but certain specialties can give you a way to make a great job even better. By taking on a career in a hot nursing field, you can find yourself with better pay and opportunities than just general nursing. Specializing and pursuing a specific field in nursing can further your career and offer a better standard of living. Read on to learn about some of the hottest jobs you can get in nursing today, and what they have to offer you.

Travel nursing has become extremely popular over the last several years, and with good reason. As a travel nurse, you’ll be hired for temporary or long term nursing assignments wherever you’re needed, whether that’s 4 hours away or on the beaches of Hawaii. An agency does the legwork work for you-all you have to do is decide if you’d like to take the opportunity or not! You’ll find generous compensation, flexibility, and a sense of adventure in this nursing career. You will also often be treated to free housing and completion bonuses.

Working as a forensic nurse has been popularized by mystery-drama TV shows like CSI and Bones. Forensic science has a great need for nurses who can collect evidence and document injuries. Unlike forensic nurses in TV dramas, you may be able to work with living victims, counseling them for assault and helping to build the case against the criminals who attacked them. If you’d like to be in an exciting part of the justice system, forensic nursing just might be for you.

If you’d like to go into advanced practice nursing, becoming a nurse practitioner just might be right for you. It takes a bit more time in nursing school, but it’s well worth the extra effort. With this master’s degree in nursing, you can work as a clinician, diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries. You’ll also be able to counsel and treat patients and prescribe medication. This field offers a great way to take your medical career to the next level while still working as a nurse.

Whether you’re studying to become a nurse or have been enjoying your career for years, it’s always a good time to consider what else you might be able to do. Think about pursuing a career in one of these hot nursing specialties to take your work to the next level.

Salty Foods May Be Worse for You Than You Realize

July 28th, 2010

There are few out there who can resist indulging in salty foods now and again, whether their weakness is french fries, potato chips, movie popcorn or a bloody Mary. While having these foods every once in awhile isn’t a big deal health wise, it’s the salt that lurks in expected places that might be hurting you most. Many people don’t realize just how much sodium is in many of the foods they eat, and just what kind of negative effects it may be having on their bodies.

The average adult shouldn’t consume more than 2400 mg of sodium a day, but many may be doing so quite unaware of how much salt is really in their food. Take canned soups for instance. Many are seemingly healthy, touting low calories and fat but masking an incredibly high amount of sodium (after all, they have to make it taste good somehow.) Additionally, sometimes meats like chickens are pumped with salty broths like those that form the basis for these soups to improve their flavor. A forget about prepared foods. Frozen dinners, ramen noodles and instant pastas are packed with sodium, sometimes more than half your daily allowance. Even seemingly healthy foods like cottage cheese, smoked turkey and cornflakes can pack a serious wallop of sodium.

Why is sodium something you should be worried about? Taking in too much salt can have some noticeable and serious side effects both in the short and long term. When you’ve had too much salt you may feel bloated and uncomfortable. Drinking water and lowering your sodium intake can help reduce these effects. Yet if you let them continue, you may find yourself with some serious kidney problems as your body simply cannot rid itself of salt quickly enough. This decreased kidney productivity can cause swelling of the body and heart and muscle weakness. Additionally, too much sodium can elevate your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, both very serious and potentially fatal conditions.

Salt may be tasty but like most other things in life it is meant to be enjoyed in moderation. Reduce the amount of salt you eat, monitor nutritional information on packages and use salt sparingly as a condiment and seasoning. By consuming less salt and balancing your diet, you’ll feel better, reduce your risk of serious illness and maybe even live longer.

Women and Addiction: Reversing Past Biases and Beating Substance Abuse

July 28th, 2010

For perhaps centuries, it was always thought that men were more susceptible to addiction to substances like nicotine, alcohol, and illicit drugs. It turns out, however, that this age-old bias was due more to social factors rather than physiological truths. In fact, recent evidence suggests that women may be significantly more susceptible to addiction. And once addicted, women may have a much tougher time kicking whatever habit.

Now, according to a recent Scientific American article, women are gaining–and with some substances–surpassing men in rates of experimentation and use. The article reports:

"…in a reversal of past trends, teenage girls are now trying marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes at higher rates than boys are, according to recent results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Meanwhile the survey demonstrated that overall illegal drug use among both girls and women rose from 5.8 to 6.3 percent between 2007 and 2008 as the rate for boys and men dipped from 10.4 to 9.9 percent."

The article goes on to explain how women’s desire to abuse substances ebbs and flows with their menstrual cycle, meaning that stopping addictive behaviors in women will be all the more difficult, since internal factors are never quite stable.

A recent New York Times articlediscusses addiction to nicotine specifically. While genetic predisposition is a very strong factor that plays into the likelihood of becoming addicted to smoking, the author stresses the importance of avoiding starting in the first place. The simple logic behind this is that potential addicts, even the more disposed ones, won’t have to go through the interminable, cyclical struggles of quitting. If parents can help their children?especially daughters?stave off experimentation until at least 18, the likelihood of developing an addiction plummets.

Pharmaceutical companies have developed drugs, like Chantix, which are aimed at people who want to quit smoking. The way Chantix works is that it blocks nicotine receptors, making smoking a less satisfying activity. Still, Chantix is not the holy-grail that will stop the single most prevalent cause of preventable death in the United States. Doctors suggest that since everyone becomes addicted for different reasons, and since the physiological and psychological makeup of each individual varies across gender, environmental, and genetic lines, there never will be a wholesale panacea for addiction.

The best cure, as the age-old saying suggests, is prevention.

Is Anyone Normal Anymore?: Changes in Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders Could Lead to Over Diagnoses

July 22nd, 2010

Some mental health experts have expressed concern over recent revisions of the bible of of psychiatric disorders – the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a tome published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The manual is revised every few years, and the latest edition is set to come out in 2013.

Reuters reportedthat in the manual are new, more ambivalent diagnostic classifications such as "psychosis risk syndrome," "mild anxiety depression," and "temper dysregulation disorder." These supposedly "new" disorders are so vague and their symptoms so common that some fear the bounds of normality will be shrunk to the point that everyone can be classified as "crazy."

What’s more, exhibiting these symptoms may lead some who seek help to believe that they need psychiatric treatment, which will lead to a spike in the demand for medication. Critics of big pharmacy companies have continually argued that psychiatric medications are so ubiquitous that some medications and conditions may exist only to further the industry.

On the other side, however, an op-edin the New York Times asserted that overmedication is largely an oversold media frenzy, and that the actual numbers of people who are prescribed or demand unnecessary psychiatric medication are few or insubstantial.

Whatever the case, the fact still stands that the popularly excepted lexicon of mental illness has expanded as more and more people are now open to discussing mental illness publicly. While this openness has certainly done much to remove the stigma of mental disorders, it has also created an environment in which general anxiety levels caused by simply living can be considered a sign of illness. This then may give rise to a cultural climate in which accepted norms are altogether unattainable.

The Reuters report quoted Til Wykes of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London, who expressed concern over the DSM revisions. He noted: "It’s leaking into normality. It is shrinking the pool of what is normal to a puddle."

In any event, despite the possibly ill-advised changes being made to the bible of psychiatric diagnoses, the APA created the DSM for doctors to use only as a guideline and not at all as a quick diagnostic tool. If psychiatrists use the manual correctly, then there does not necessarily exist an eminent danger of wholesale misdiagnoses.

Are Online LPN to RN Programs Right for You?

July 14th, 2010

The transition from LPN to RN is a larger one than most students think: you are changing your entire outlook in the nursing community and taking on a much larger responsibility with not only your patients, but with your career future.  As an LPN, you were given much responsibility regarding patient care, but it was usually care that most registered nurses do not have to partake in.  Not that it wasn’t important care, but it was just care that RNs are too busy to attend to; thus why the nursing community created the differences between LPNs and RNs.  However, now earning your RN degree has never been easier with the use of online education, and LPNs can now earn their further nursing degree without the hassle of beginning their nursing courses all over again and can instead put their experience as an LPN into schooling, lessening the amount of time it takes to earn an RN degree. 

Studies have been predicting massive nursing shortages within the next few years, which is even more of an incentive for students to enroll in online classes that will expedite their RN degree.  Most students in any part of the nursing industry understand the patience and understanding that comes with patient care and have devoted a large part of their lives toward studying and staying on this particular course.  However, some students decided early on to simply try out nursing through LPN programs, rather than take on the more intense RN programs that involve true nursing work that we sometimes get a glimpse of through media programs.  After a few months though, it becomes clear that most LPNs want the heightened responsibility of an RN, but do not want to complete the years of coursework necessary to earn that level of prestige.  Enter online education.  Students now only have to attend classes for a few months to a year and most of their clinic experience has already been taken care of due to previous job qualifications.

A better way to earn a degree has never been thought of!  With the upcoming nursing shortage (although we are currently experiencing a similar nursing shortage now), these online programs have not come at a better time.  Online education is truly revolutionizing the education industry and the faster students begin to take advantage of this process, the faster our economy will righten itself and we can push on to become a better-educated country. 

 

5 Easy Steps to Earn your LPN to RN Online

July 6th, 2010

Online LPN to RN programs are now the easiest way to become a registered nurse without the hassle of taking several years out of your life and commuting into a nursing school.  Online school offers the luxury of learning from home, and LPN to RN programs allow students to put their previous training as an LPN to work while earning an RN certification.  The process in earning an LPN to RN degree online is relatively simple, and just involves a bit of research on your part as a student.  

Choose your school
Most online schools offer a variety of classes, and since the nursing industry has ballooned in the past years, many online schools are now offering various nursing programs.  Many of these involve programs that allow students to take fewer classes due to their previous degree qualifications.  As a result, there are now many options for students to choose from in earning an RN degree, and the decisions is therefore left to the student to decide which school will work with them in earning their degree and allow them the greater flexibility to study and work.  

Putting your LPN to work
The purpose of LPN to RN programs is to allow students the opportunity to put everything they have learned throughout their career as an LPN, towards RN classes.  Therefore, rather than starting with a blank slate in nursing like most other schools require students of any level of nursing to do, you are able to begin with a background knowledge of the medical community and can knock off a year of your studies.  

Clinic requirements
Most RN programs require students to spend several hours per week in a hospital or clinic setting in their last year of study in order to gain a better perspective on what their job will entail.  However, in LPN to RN programs, students already have years of previous experience actually working in a clinic setting, and therefore these requirements are altered so that students can simply hold the degree without the extra year of clinic work.  This is one of the main benefits of LPN to RN programs, and while some schools may still require a few hours of work a week in a clinic with an RN, it will not be as extensive as typical RN programs.

Time frame
The time frame of LPN to RN programs is another attractive part of the program because it allows students the flexibility to take only a few classes per year and still earn the degree within two or three years.  RN programs are rigidly structured so that students must follow specific guidelines every year, without consideration of their earlier work experience.  LPN to RN programs instead take into account the students’ background and affords them a shorter time frame during the process.

Cost analysis
Finally, LPN to RN online programs are typically cheaper than other RN programs not only because they are online, but also because of the shorter time frame which can save students thousands of dollars.  Earning an RN degree has never been easier with the added help of online education and LPN to RN programs continue to attract more students every year.  

 

I-Dosing: Latest Trend in Teen Drug Use, and It’s Not Illegal

June 28th, 2010

While it is difficult for parents of today to keep up with their teenagers, we all should make concerted efforts to stay abreast of the latest dangers that threaten our children in the form of peer-pressure. Making sure that our children stay clear of such drugs as marijuana and harder substances is relatively easy in the face of the latest craze–digital drugs.

What are these so-called digital drugs, and how do they work? Time magazine reported on a trend called i-dosing, in which teens listen to audio files available on popular websites like YouTube. Listening to these audio clips is said to have the same neurological effects of marijuana and alcohol. On some websites, like iDoser.com, these tracks are sold for hefty prices and bear titles like "Cocaine" and "Opium."

In one YouTube video, a teen is filmed taking a "hit" of these digital drugs, and he then begins laughing uncontrollably. In another video, another teen, lying on a couch, wearing headphones and blinded, is violently shaking. These are only a couple of examples in a slew of YouTube videos depicting children under the influence of these binaural beats.

According to a Psychology Today article, however, these digital drugs are not as sinister as they may sound. Apparently, these sound tracks that are said to cause alternate states of mind have been around for almost two centuries. According to the article, Heinrich William Dove discovered in 1839 that feeding two constant tones at different frequencies in each ear induces a change in brain wave activity. And Dove’s discovery has since helped launch legitimate research in sound therapy.

However, what most concerns parents about the recent reportings of teenagers getting high off of these digital drugs is that they may serve as the gateway to further drug experimentation. In fact, this concern has become so great for some that, in one instance, the Oklahoma Burea of Narcotics issued a warning to parents to monitor their children’s Internet use. And Mustang Public High School has moreover begun clamping down on unmonitored student cell phone and Internet use.

Still, according to Psychology Today, teens turning to digital drugs in and of itself is relatively harmless. It only points to a typical desire among adolescents to try new things. While it is always advisable to monitor your children, especially those undergoing the rather trying times of adolescence, the media coverage of i-dosing, as with most new trends, will inevitably be overblown.

Caring for an Elderly Parent with Alzheimer’s

May 12th, 2010

Even though nursing homes and assisted living centers have improved greatly over the past 10 years, many of us are still hesitant to place an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s in the hands of strangers at a distant facility. But do you have what it takes to care for an elderly parent at home?

Caring for the Alzheimer’s patient at home can be an arduous and all-consuming task, and you should consult a physician before attempting it. Depending on the severity and progression of the disease, your parent may even need routine in-home nursing care, especially if you must leave your home for work or other responsibilities. However, there are some good overall tips for people who have chosen at-home elder care for their parent.

First, do everything you can to communicate what is happening to your parent. AgingCare.com has several useful tips for elder caregivers on the topic of communicating with an Alzheimer’s patient, some of will be explored here. They include ridding the room of distractions such as television and radio, as well as making eye contact and using your parent’s name to make sure you have their attention. While it is often necessary to speak calmly with short words and simple sentences, you should make sure you are not talking to your parent in "baby talk" as if they were a child. In the times when your parent is lucid, doing so can be extremely demeaning, especially considering he or she was the one to raise you.

Dressing can be a confusing experience and bathing can be a terrifying experience for an Alzheimer’s patient. For this reason, both should be done in a solid routine, so that your parent gets as comfortable and familiar with what is happening as possible. If they are capable, they should be in control of these two activities of daily living as much as possible. Substitute clothing with elastic bands and Velcro strips in place of clothing with more complex zippers and buttons, and patiently talk them through the process of bathing, being careful to never leave them unsupervised in a drawn bath.

Many people with Alzheimer’s have difficulty eating, either because they are not interested in eating, cannot focus on it, or because they want to eat too much. Be patient at mealtimes and provide a few choices if food appears to be unappealing. Finger foods are particularly useful because using utensils is difficult for some with Alzheimer’s.

Finally, make sure you have some sort of support system, whether it be an online forum of at-home caregivers or a trusted friend, spouse or family member. After all, it’s a difficult journey and shouldn’t be attempted alone.