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Are State Favoring Nurses with BSN’s?

Jennifer Matton of Abington, PA had to carve time out of her busy schedule to go back to school for the 3rd time to obtain her BSN. Matton, a mother of four boys and a registered nurse (RN) at Abington Memorial Hospital, noticed a trend of hospitals preferring nurses with BSNs versus RNs.

Hospitals in New York and New Jersey are starting a quiet trend as talks of possibly passing legislation that will require nurses to have a bachelor in nursing have been brewing. The law, nicknamed “BSN-in-ten,” has yet to be enforced or finalized however, some hospitals have already implemented that requirement in their hiring process. The legislation states that current registered nurses in those states are given 10 years to return to school and obtain their degrees in order to keep their licenses and practices.*

The push for this act started back in 1974 and was approved in 1985 however, due to many objections, implementation of the act stalled. The main argument against this legislation is that experience overpowers classroom learning. Also, that due to the shortage of registered nurses and hospital schedule demands; it would be a hard requirement to enforce.

Matton believes in this requirement due to the importance of the required decision making of her profession.

“It blows me away how much influence nurses have on serious treatment decisions,” Matton said. “After going back to school, I think more critically about what we’re doing, and I have a better understanding of why we’re doing it.”*

This trend may carry across the U.S. as cities in Rhode Island and Long Island are considering to follow in New York and New Jersey’s footsteps. Matton decided to go back to school to obtain her BSN after noticing the trend that hospitals prefer to hire nurses with higher degrees. Regardless if this law is enforced in your state or not, knowing that hospitals prefer a nurse with a higher degree, wouldn’t you like to gain an edge with an advance degree? Contact us to find out how.

*BSN-in-10 act will require nurses to obtain a BAN in 10 years. (Source:, 01/2012).

*Jennifer Matton returned to school for the 3rd time to obtain her BSN and quote from her. (Source:, 06/2012).

*Rhode Island and Long Island are considering applying the BSN-in-10 act in their cities (Source:, 03/2011)

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Start Your Career on the Right Path

          It’s never easy to enter a new career path. “Will I get a job? Am I doing the right thing? What can I expect after I graduate?” All these questions and many more can flood your mind and make you doubt your decisions. Once you enter the field, things may get even harder; but hang in there! When you know the right steps to take, you can avoid unnecessary frustrations.
 has an interesting article entitled “A Great Start to Your Career: How a new nurse can build a resume” written by Connie Curran. Beyond the fear of one-on-one patient care and hoping you remember everything you learned in class and on rotations, Curran has a couple of valuable tips as you encroach on a new profession.
          Curran suggests that continuing your education should be a top priority throughout your career. If you have your LVN, pursue your RN. If you have your RN degree, look into entering a BSN program. If you have your BSN, why not get a Master’s? “The person with the most skills is going to have the most choices in life… You’ve got the study skills. You’re in the student groove. So stay in the groove, especially since the many hospitals today reimburse you for the tuition.”
          If you’re worried about the added time and expense of more coursework, there are many classes that you can take which will still look good on your resume. “Your employer, for example, may have a course in the hospital on wound care. Often you will get the time off work to take the course. You’re not paying for tuition while adding confidence to yourself and skills to your resume. That will be worth money in your next job, if not your current one.”
          Curran’s second tip is to refine your leadership skills. “Whether you coach baseball, volunteer at church, do blood-pressure screenings – start developing skills that require you initiate activities, manage people, and get things done. Not only will it add joy to your life, it will open up other avenues. A resume is not only about your work and educational experience, it should show your interests as a human being.”
         Experience, education and improving your skills with not only help you as you embark on a new journey, but it will also better you as a person. That’s not such a bad way to live…
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California Needs More Nurses

After looking at many news sites for the past few months, a reoccurring theme is the shortage of nurses that are projected for the future. California continues to have a population growth spurt, but budget cuts in higher education have greatly impacted the number of nurses that are projected for the future. Many nurses are choosing to get their LVN certifications rather than enter an RN program or BSN degree due to both financial cost on behalf of the students and budget cutbacks in the educational systems.

According to Randy M. Caine on, “Since the start of the state’s Nurse Education Initiative in 2005, California has thankfully seen a 78.7 percent increase in new student enrollments as a result of opening 35 additional nursing programs. But California is still scrambling to get out of the nursing shortage hole and, in the 2008-09 academic year, saw the increase of new enrollments slow.

“California falls short of the national average of 825 registered nurses employed per 100,000 population. With just 653 registered nurses employed per 100,000, the state’s nursing shortage will climb to 80,000 by 2015.”

One major factor contributing to the nursing shortage is the vacancies in the faculty departments that are not being filled. Not only are there shortages in professors, but budget cuts are causing cutbacks in education and more faculty members are not being hired. Caine comments that, “California was forced to turn nearly 23,000 qualified applicants away from nursing programs during the 2008-2009 academic year.

“As a nursing professor at California State University at Los Angeles until 2008, I saw highly qualified students being turned away simply because we didn’t have the staff to teach them. I saw students who had to worry about their program being offered the following year, and I saw faculty members who didn’t know if they would get a paycheck.”
Most interesting in Caine’s article was the statement, “We should not view today as a lull in the need for nurses, but as the calm before the storm…Many have closed their eyes to the ripple effect of today’s nursing shortage, but it is impossible to discuss the need for more nurses without looking to how this will change the future of health care.”

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How Would You Like to Be Paid Based On Your Nursing Performance?

How would you like to be paid based on your nursing performance? This is a question that was recently explored and was not met with positive results. Ellen Kurtzman, RN, MPH, FAAN, assistant research professor in the GW School of Nursing recently published her findings in Health Affairs magazine.
“This research has given us an unprecedented opportunity to be in the field and interview hospital leaders and unit nurses about the impact of performance-based incentives,” said Kurtzman. “While nurses are not typically considered in the design of such incentive programs, our study indicates that they influence the implementation of such policies and are impacted—in some cases negatively—by these programs. Overall, interviewees reported favorable effects of financial incentives on patients but viewed these emerging policies as burdensome to nurses and having little positive effect on improving nurse staffing or turnover.”
About ten years ago when I was teaching high school history, this issue came up as an incentive to raise state test scores for students. Much of the same results were found; I could do everything in my power to prepare my students for success, but there are so many influences that are beyond my control: parent attitudes, their home environment, and funding in low income areas deny some of the advantages that wealthier areas have. Much of the same issues plague those working with patients: those nurses working in Oakland have a different clientele and medical issues than those who are working in Walnut Creek. Medical facilities with higher funding have more access to better technology and more staffing.
Another issue I foresee would be who would evaluate the nurses’ performances? Would it be based on mortality? Would patients fill out forms? I’m sure one nurse with a patient who got well would be rated higher than a patient who is still battling illness. There are too many emotions and variants to evaluate a medical professional.
Currently, there are incentives to pursue higher levels of education such as LVNs to get their RN degrees or RN’s to get their BSN degrees. There are also opportunities to earn more for bilingual nurses or those with special skills.
I think there is a need for performance evaluations, but pay incentives are clearly not a way to improve the medical profession.

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Vocational Nursing One of Most Promising Careers

No matter what healthcare career you choose, it’s always nice to know that you have options for upward mobility. Vocational Nursing is a great way to go. (My husband is an LVN and going to school to become a firefighter. Most calls that firefighters respond to are medical, so his experience as a nurse and training will be invaluable.)

Noel Rozny from reports that there are three top career choices that will get you into the job force quickly with minimal education. While you are working, there is great opportunity for growth and furthering your education.Rozny states that these are the “3 rewarding career paths that you can start quickly and grow in while you work:” a dental assistant, a bookkeeper, and an LVN.

To work your way from being an LVN to an RN, Rozny explains that “While you’re working as a LPN, you can study to become a registered nurse. There are three educational paths to choose from: earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN), an Associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an accredited nursing program (usually offered by hospitals). Any of these programs will allow you to practice as a registered nurse after you graduate (and pass the NCLEX-RN examination). In addition, many schools offer an LPN to RN program to specifically aid this transition.”
Rozny also states that there are many opportunities for nurses who are RNs. “The advancement opportunities for nurses are endless. For registered nurses who don’t have a BSN, there are plenty of programs that make earning your bachelor’s in nursing easy. Once you have your BSN, you can choose to pursue a Master’s in nursing, which will allow you to enter specialized fields and become an advanced practice nurse (APN). (APNs typically become nurse practitioners, certified nurse anesthetists, clinical nurse specialists, or certified nurse midwives.) If you want to go into teaching or research or a leadership, you can further your career by pursuing a doctorate in nursing. Plus, once you have your BSN, many graduate nursing programs are offered online, making it easy to continue your education. At the end of the day, a nursing career can go as far financially and professionally as you want to take it.” The possibilities are endless once you decide that a career in nursing is for you.
If you would like more information on how to become an LVN or an RN in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara or Sacramento, contact Unitek College. We can get you started on the career path that you’ve dreamed of!

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Most Interesting Nursing Jobs

          Nursing is an exciting profession. If it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be so many TV programs which take place in a hospital, right? From Doogie Howser, M.D. to Scrubs, the medical profession has provided fodder for entertainment for decades.
          Okay, so you can’t always trust what you see on the flat screen… but nursing is an interesting profession when you think about the cases that walk through the hospital or clinic doors and the life or death situations that are presented on a daily (if not hourly) basis. According to, here are the top ten “coolest” jobs in nursing:
1. Holistic Nursing – This area involves massage and alternative treatments. The “excitement” intro to this article didn’t appeal to you? Well, this is the opposite. Relaxation and meditation soothe the body and mind.
2. Nursing Informatics – Are you a techie? Hospitals are always looking for ways to run smoothly and more efficiently. Should all charting be done on an iPad?
3. Forensic Nursing – CSI fans, this is for you. This is a mix of medical knowledge applied to law enforcement.
4. Outcomes Management – describes this area as “Measuring quality – length of stay, quality of care, and utilization – can get you a job working for a health insurance company or hospital system.”
5. Fitness Nursing – Rehab, surgical recovery or at a health spa, there are several places to apply your skills.
6. Entrepreneur and Consultant (Self Employed) – “CPR training, adult day care, staffing agencies, educational companies, and more. Being a nurse entrepreneur is a broad field that is constantly changing and growing,” explains. The only limitation is what you can imagine.
7. Medical Esthetics Nurse – Everyone wants to look younger and better. Botox, chemical peels and collagen are just the tip of the iceberg as countless people are searching for the fountain of youth.
8. Faith-Based Nursing – These nurses pray with their patients tending to their bodies as well as their souls.
9. Insurance Nursing – “Is answering the ask-a-nurse advice line your strength? Or perhaps you’re into writing wellness newsletters, running education programs for insurers, or monitoring outcomes data.” If so, than Scrubs Magazine thinks this job just might be for you!
10. Assisted Living and Long Term Care – As hospitals move patients out of their beds in a shorter amount of time, these patients are being moved to care facilities.
          If you’re thinking about becoming a health care worker, now is the time to join this exciting field which offers a ton of different experiences. You may want to look into a school like Unitek College if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can get a quality education in a minimal amount of time.
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