Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Guest Post: Why You Should Consider Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Why You Should Consider Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

Many registered nurses can tell you about the stress that comes with a profession where being overworked and under appreciated comes with the job. However, there is one nursing specialty where nurses report high levels of satisfaction with their jobs, their patients, and their salaries- Nurse Anesthesia. A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is a registered nurse who has completed his or her Masters of Science in Nursing degree specializing in anesthesia. Today, between sixty and seventy percent of anesthetics are given by Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, according to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Thanks to the high skill level required by the position, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are highly independent, very well paid, and in demand all over the country.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists say that the field requires a lot of upfront commitment to receive the training required of nurses in this field. However, once you have completed your training, there are endless job opportunities, and the job satisfaction
levels among nurses is very high.

CRNA’s practice anywhere where anesthesia is administered, such as operating rooms, obstetrical delivery rooms, surgery centers, and in the offices of private practice physicians such as dentists, podiatrists, ophthalmologists, plastic surgeons, and other physicians. In many states, a CRNA can administer anesthesia without the supervision of a physician, which means that a CRNA does nearly the same job as an anesthesiologist.

CRNA’s who work in the field say that the bond formed with patients is a huge reward, and knowing that they are able to relieve a patient’s pain helps nurses to feel a real sense of satisfaction. Unlike other nursing positions where you are often running from patient
to patient, working as a CRNA means that you will focus exclusively on one patient at a time, not only providing anesthesia but comforting injured or ill patients.

More so than other nursing positions, working as a CRNA can offer flexible hours. Many who work as Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists have a full time position but also accept on-call positions at other facilities. The demand for Nurse Anesthetists is so
high that these positions are easy to find.

As with most nursing jobs, the need for Nurse Anesthetists in rural areas is extraordinarily high. In many rural areas, a Nurse Anesthetist is the only option for anesthesia provision in the area. Working in these areas takes a high level of dedication, but the payoff is equally large.

Becoming a CRNA does take a significant amount of training, but there are more than one hundred programs in the US that you can attend. In general, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of nursing experience in an acute care setting. Most programs last between two and three years and include clinical training. Upon completion, a CRNA must pass a national certification exam. When you begin working, you can expect to make more than $100,000 annually, and the demand for CRNA’s is so
high that you can work virtually anywhere you want to.

This was contributed by Sandra Stevens. Sandra writes about CNA Training and
Certification on her blog over at CNA Training Help.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Social Media

On this unofficial Facebook "Unfriend Day" I thought I'd take brief stock of the different social networking platforms geared to nurse practitioners. There are a plethora of sites out there with varying degrees of engagement & activity. This list below is by no means meant to be exhaustive, it is just a sample of what I have come across:

These sites are primarily geared to the NP with the hopes of networking with fellow NPs. I have personally been a part of every one of these sites - more so as a lurker - to see what my NP colleagues are talking about and discussing. It's rare that I feel compelled enough to comment about an issue (well, I take that back - that's what my blog is for!) There are the regular participants and the occasional flamers.

I generally come away disappointed with the lack of participation and relatively low engagement. (The only way that I can quantify the number of "members" is by looking at the largest NP group on FaceBook that has a paltry 2100 or so - not to mention that the majority of postings is from recruiters trying to fill positions or someone trying to promote or sell something health related). Is it because NPs are too busy to spend time posting on forums? Is it lack of awareness of the various sites? Are there just too many sites to track and be active on?

Is it all of the above?

It's obvious that social (and professional) networking sites aren't going anywhere anytime soon (FaceBook touts 500 million uses). However, there needs to be increased participation and discussion for them to be meaningful before people give up on them altogether - at least from a professional standpoint.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you participate in these sites? Were you aware of the varied social networking landscape? Do you have any ideas to increase user engagement and if so, which site(s) would you choose?

(By the way, of my FaceBook friends, it looks like I had one person unfriend me. I'm not sure who it was, but then again, I guess I'm not missing out on much if I can't figure out who it was!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guest Post: The Pros and Cons of Legal Nurse Consulting

The Pros and Cons of Legal Nurse Consulting

I’ve spent years pursuing different avenues in the health care industry. I spent my high school years studying to become a CAN, I was at one point a EMT, and I eventually turned to alternative practices like massage therapy, herbs and general fitness and nutrition. Not long ago, though, I heard a term that was relatively new to me – legal nurse consulting.
My aunt told me about her pursuit of a legal nurse consulting certification. Her goal was to pass the certification exam and open her own business, partnering with lawyers around the country to help them understand medical charts and the medical profession as a whole.

Sounds great, right?
I’m wondering if it really is.

I urge anyone who is considering legal nurse consulting to consider the pros and cons. While it is certainly an admiral and profitable career path, it may limit your future choices.

First of all, legal nurse consulting is not a get-rich-quick solution to your problems. If you feel overworked and underpaid, odds are you may feel the same way while working with lawyers – especially when it comes time to chase down your payments.
Another thing to consider is the fact that you are basically turning your back on the industry you work in. Nurses and doctors do make mistakes, but if you label yourself as someone willing to point out those mistakes (in practice or in paperwork), employers may be hesitant to hire you as a nurse in the future.

Legal nurse consulting isn’t an easy job. It’s for organized, professional individuals who have time and who are dedicated to helping those who have been injured by the medical profession find vindication. The job can be cold and lonely and – honestly – simply isn’t for everyone.

Take some time to think about your chosen career path and don’t jump to legal nurse consulting simply because of the claims that you will make $150 per hour for your work. The reality is that you’re going to work incredibly hard for your money – just as hard or harder as you would work on the hospital floor. Make sure you’re making the right choice for you.

Deborah Dera is a full-time writer specializing in personal finance, credit repair, online degrees, health, fitness, and nutrition. She is the founder of Write on the Edge and offers unique content solutions to business owners who want to strengthen their online brands.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Post: CareFirst Insurer Expands Role of Nurse Practitioners, IOM Recommends Same

CareFirst Insurer Expands Role of Nurse Practitioners, IOM Recommends Same

Last week, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, an insurer in Baltimore, Maryland, announced that it would enable nurse practitioners to serve as primary-care providers in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the D.C. area. In response to both the physician shortage, which is expected to take a turn for the worse in the coming years, and to the health care reform law, which will produce an huge spike in insured patients by 2014, CareFirst made the decision to grant more authority to nurse practitioners.

As quoted in a recent FierceHealthCare article, CareFirst Senior Vice President for Networks Management Bruce Edwards noted:

"With these developments ahead and an existing need to expand access to these services, allowing nurse practitioners to practice independently as primary-care providers is a logical move to serve our members better."

The CareFirst decision to recognize nurse practitioners as primary-care providers, meaning patients will no longer have to see physicians before receiving care, was made in tandem with Maryland Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP) and the Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland.

In related news, the Institute of Medicine released a report earlier this month, entitled "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health", which recommended the expansion of nurses' roles as well. The report urged both federal and state governments to ease regulations that impede nurses to practice to the full extent of their educational capabilities.

Although many physicians were critical of the report, claiming that a physician's education and field experience cannot be equated to that of nurses', the IOM panel argued that its recommendations were not meant to be divisive.

Reporting on the IOM's recommendations, an American Medical News article quoted Dr. Donna Shalala, who headed the panel that collaborated on the report. Shalala asserted that "This is not about one profession substituting for another...This is about a collaborative effort among those who represent medicine in this country to make it better and to improve outcomes for every patient and every American family."

Another key component of the IOM's report is expanding nursing education so that nurses will be able to meet the demand of newly insured patients with a knowledgeable skill set. It went on to propose that nursing education be better integrated with physician training such that nurses will be better prepared for more collaborative roles as care providers. The report furthermore underscored the need for encouraging nurses to pursue doctoral degrees.

This guest post is contributed by Kitty Holman, who writes on the topics of nursing schools. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:

Friday, November 5, 2010

DNP Series: Onward and Upward

Just wanted to update anyone following me as I am finishing up the DNP (graduation is May 2011!) The work is intense. Trying to juggle school, work and family life, is a challenge. However I know that it is already worth it. My perspective on my practice has changed for the better and I now incorporate evidence-based practice and culturally competent care in all of my interactions.

My group of four are knee deep into the data analysis/synthesis of our systematic review. The statistical portion is mind numbing after looking at all of these clinical trials and trying to synthesize them into something that will make sense. We are also incorporating non randomized controlled trials (RCTs) into our write up which brings additional challenges in answering our clinical question (focused on diabetes and group medical visits). We have been busy reading and re-reading clinical studies, crunching numbers, e-mailing study authors (many who don't actually write back to you), making forest plots, consulting with our clinical agency for getting the project off the ground, completing IRB certification modules, and many many conference calls. Anyone who thinks that the DNP lacks the rigor of a PhD or another other doctorate, I can tell you that it is just not true. The goal of this degree is translating evidence into practice, implementation science and stakeholder engagement, to name just a few of the highlights.

We are hoping to complete the write up for our systematic review by the end of the year. Our protocol was recently approved and registered by the Joanna Briggs Institute which is a small victory. We continue on and are working hard to finish the systematic review this semester which will leave next semester to focus on our individual projects and to monitor the status of our clinical projects.

As I am submerged in this, healthcare reform and discontent are at a high. Patients have many unanswered questions, some physicians are attacking anyone and everyone that tries to disrupt the status quo and many clinicians continue their daily work of trying to manage too many patients in not enough time with increasingly complex conditions. I still believe that we are getting closer every day to a paradigm shift in health-care where we recognize that all members of the health care team play an integral and collaborative role and we must partner with patients and their families to deliver care that is truly patient-centered (and not just use that as the latest buzzword).