Daytime talk show host Katie Couric recently paid tribute to nurses and the important role they play in their patients’ lives. Her guest, Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), highlighted another critical role of today’s nurses: decision-maker.

“In 2010, a study from the Institute of Medicine reported that nurses are not being used to their full potential,” Mason explained. “This finding is key because it recognizes that we cannot transform healthcare in our country without tapping into the potential of our nurses and the important role they can play at decision-making tables at all levels of healthcare organizations and for all healthcare policies.”

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Love anatomy and physiology? The chance to do innovative things in a highly disciplined environment? Surgical nursing might be the specialty for you.

Lori Armbruster, MSN, RN, is Faculty Chair at Chamberlain’s St. Louis campus and a surgical nurse with 28 years of experience in the OR. She explained that surgical, or perioperative, nursing may have a long learning curve, but for nurses who love technology and organization, it can make for a very satisfying career.

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Nursing come in many forms and settings — correctional, labor & delivery and home carejust to name a few. Each of these settings often has its own unique rules and procedures, beyond the general best practices all nurses know and follow.

So it should come as no surprise that, around the world, healthcare standards and practices vary dramatically from one country to another.

For instance, did you know that, in the Philippines, a significant number of doctors head back to medical school to become nurses?

Find out more about this and other interesting nursing facts from around the world in this infographic put together by Scrubsmag.com.

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The first day of nursing school is an exciting experience. There’s a lot to take in as you get settled into your classes, meet your professors and fellow students.

But there’s also a lot to learn; beyond what’s in your textbooks. Wouldn’t it be great to know which class will be the hardest? Or to already have tips on how to best take notes in pharmacology?

Earlier this year, we asked our fans on Facebook what advice they would give themselves if they could go back to their first day of nursing school.

Here are some of the top responses:

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You’ve been accepted into nursing school and you’re eager to dive into your courses. For some students, one of the first classes, “The Fundamentals of Nursing,” can seem intimidating. But it’s really just another chance to show you’ve got what it takes.

“Students need help with all types of courses,” said Professional Nursing Tutor Nicole Woodby, “everything from the fundamentals to collaborative healthcare.”

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When choosing a college, there are a lot of factors to consider — cost, location, faculty and student support are among the most important criteria to new students. However, the role of a school’s accreditation status cannot be underestimated. Whether or not a school is accredited is a key indication of the quality of the institution and an assurance to the public of the education it provides.

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Long after the final test is taken and your graduation cap has been tossed in the air, you may find your thoughts wandering to friends you made and acquaintances you met during your education.

As new responsibilities and commitments may pull you in different directions, it can be difficult to stay connected and keep in touch with your classmates. Moreover, you may find yourself wondering if it’s even necessary to do so. It might take a little extra effort to maintain those connections post-graduation, but staying in touch with classmates provides many benefits, both personally and professionally.

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Like all nurses, Lynn Elliott, MS, RN, started her career wanting to make a difference in the lives of others. Now, after 40 years of nursing and impacting countless lives, she has been honored by the state of Florida for her contributions to public health, named one of the Sunshine state’s public health heroes.

But when she started out, she was only driven by a desire to help. And it was this drive which brought Elliott to new challenges and helped her overcome them.

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Hannah Byers, a student in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at Chamberlain College of Nursing’s Columbus campus, is working to help combat a national epidemic — the rising number of heart attacks and strokes. And she’s doing it through preventative care.

Each year, Americans suffer more than two million heart attacks and strokes.[1] The healthcare industry is evolving to focus on preventive care in an effort to lower healthcare costs and the prevalence of chronic disease such as these. Hannah and her peers hope to prevent these conditions, which are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States.[2]

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Getting involved in extracurricular activities while in nursing school can help you expand your experience, make new friends and create professional connections.

Nelly Coto, BSN, RN and 2013 graduate from Chamberlain’s Houston campusknows this firsthand. She was involved in a number of extracurricular activities and groups which positively impacted her growth as a student. “Getting involved was great,” said Coto. “It let me dive right in to all things nursing and really helped me immerse myself in what it meant to be a nurse.”

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