It’s no secret that America’s healthcare system is evolving. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of citizens will now have access to healthcare insurance, increasing the demand for primary care services within and outside of the traditional hospital setting. The ACA emphasizes the importance of educating the public on disease prevention and community health, changing the way we approach healthcare. Nurses have the opportunity to be part of this evolution, and part of the solution to adapting to this changing healthcare environment in the face of a growing physician shortage.

The September edition of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) policy brief, Charting Nursing’s Future, outlines the following benefits of academic progression in meeting these challenges:

1. A Focus on Community Health

The ACA emphasis on public and community health will send nurses into homes, community centers, schools and other non-hospital environments. They’ll manage care coordination and prevention, and improve quality, safety and efficiency of care delivery in the community. Baccalaureate degree programs provide public and community health content to prepare nurses to meet these needs.

2. Responding to the Nurse Faculty Shortage

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing  reports that U.S. nursing schools turned away 75,587 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2011, due in part to insufficient number of faculty1. This problem will intensify as baby boomers retire from the faculty ranks2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)-prepared nurses are more likely to continue their education to attain graduate degrees and become part of the solution to the nurse faculty shortage3.

3. Meeting Demand for Primary Care

The primary care physician shortage has driven demand for primary care services nationwide. Nurses educated at the graduate level for nurse practitioner (NP) roles are prepared to help meet these needs. Family nurse practitioners, specifically, are credentialed to perform 60 to 80 percent of primary and preventative care services and treat patients across the age spectrum, so they’re well positioned to increase access to healthcare.

According to the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, NPs who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree are the fastest-growing group of primary care providers. The number of NPs is projected to double by 2025, topping 200,0004. These nurses will help respond to demand created by the growing shortage of primary care physicians, which is expected to exceed 45,000 by 20205.

4. Education Improves Patient Outcomes

Research suggests that nurses with baccalaureate degrees and higher are better prepared to handle professional responsibility and more complex practices. In turn, hospitals that employ a high proportion of BSN-prepared nurses on staff are linked to having better patient outcomes. In its 2010 report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, RWJF outlined positive outcomes researchers connect to BSN staffing in healthcare settings, including “lower incidence of pressure ulcers, postoperative deep vein thrombosis, hospital-acquired infections, and post-surgical mortality.”6

According to RWJF, building a more educated nursing workforce requires a coordinated effort and significant resources. Through advancement of education, nursing institutions can create a stronger nursing workforce, benefiting healthcare nationwide. You can find RWJF’s full September issue of Charting Nursing’s Future here.

1Nursing Faculty Shortage Fact Sheet. American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2012   Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

2Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

3Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

4Kovner CT, Brewer CS, Yingrengreung S, Fairchild S. New Nurses’ Views of Quality Improvement Education. Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 2010;36 (1): 29-35

5[Infographic] Family Nurse Practitioner: A Supercharged Career Path. Chamberlain College of Nursing. http://blog.chamberlain.edu/2013/08/12/family-nurse-practitioner-to-the-rescue/

6The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Institute of Medicine, 2010


During the summer in Phoenix, temperatures climb into the triple digits for weeks on end – putting the city’s homeless population at risk for dehydration, heat-related illness or even death.

To help address this problem, the Student Nurses Association (SNA) at Chamberlain’s Phoenix campus put together the fifth annual Hydration for the Homeless event on September 14th, 2013. READ MORE

You’re looking for a new nursing job, and your plan probably goes something like this:

  1. Put together your resume
  2. Check out the job postings online
  3. Start sending in applications

Unfortunately, what’s missing from this plan is the one thing that’s most likely to help you get hired – a referral.

While many people do get hired through postings on job sites, studies show that you’re three to four times more likely to land a job through a referral. In addition, those with a referral are hired faster than those who apply through a career site.

After all, a referral is something like a pre-screening – it implies that you have been approved by somebody who knows the job, the facility and the culture.

Referrals can come in various shapes and sizes, from a formal employee referral program, to the simple permission to use someone’s name as a point of reference. The key to any kind of referral is good, old-fashioned networking.

Whether you are applying for your first job in nursing, or you want to change specialties or advance your career, it’s important to put effort into cultivating relationships. It’s not as tricky as it seems. Here are three tips, from Amy Hayes, career services advisor at Chamberlain College of Nursing:

  • Join the local chapter of a professional association or specialty organization, such as the American Nurses Association or Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). “These organizations provide a great opportunity for networking with established professionals and acquiring contacts,” said Hayes. You can attend meetings or even serve on the board. Either way, you’ll have the opportunity to rub elbows with decision-makers in your field.These organizations are also a good source for unadvertised jobs, giving you the inside track to an interview. One potential drawback: professional organizations often charge a membership fee. Many associations offer payment plans, but if the cost of membership is still too high for you at this time, you can always follow the association on LinkedIn for free.
  • Network with your fellow Chamberlain graduates. There are more than 18,000 Chamberlain alumni out there. Chances are, some of them might be in your city, your specialty or even the facility where you’d like to work. You can use LinkedIn to connect with your fellow alumni – do an advanced search, and enter ‘Chamberlain College of Nursing’ in the field for school.Even easier, you can join the Chamberlain Alumni Association, which is available at no cost to all Chamberlain grads. A number of Chamberlain Alumni Association chapters offer in-person networking events that are open to campus and online graduates.
  • Get active on social media. LinkedIn is a good choice for professional activities, but opportunities to network on social media are all around us. Chamberlain’s Facebook and Twitter pages have nursing professionals from around the world you can connect with. Many organizations, such as the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and American Nurses Association, are also active on social media. One word of caution – be sure to review and understand privacy policies.Keep your strengths visible– including extracurricular activities, educational background and passions – but hide anything that’s not professional. Unprofessional photos, tweets or comments are big offenders and ultimately can cost you a connection. (Hint: Google yourself to ensure anything you want to remain private is hidden and everything you want to highlight can be viewed.). Whichever way you go, Hayes said, “Make comments, share articles – just be sure to give as well as take.”

 

Above all, give it time, and keep on building relationships, even when you are in school or at a job that you love.

For additional help, students and alumni can contact Chamberlain’s Career Services department at help.chamberlain.edu or 888.556.8226 (prompts 3-1-2).

Symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath are early warning signs of a heart attack. Shockingly, two-thirds of men say they would not see a healthcare professional if these symptoms arose. They’re likely part of the seven million American men who have not been to a physician’s appointment in 10 years or more.

READ MORE