Archive for April, 2009

Nurses Position Yourselves for Future Opportunities

Posted in Independent Contractor, Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing Specialties, Per Diem, Permanent Placement, Travel Nursing, Travel Nursing

The state of the nursing profession currently reflects the state of the economy. With unemployment hitting record levels, many non-active nurses have returned to the profession and others have taken on more shifts in order to meet the needs of their families.

Hospitals have been hit hard in the pocketbook by the fact that many patients are putting off elective procedures and anything that isn’t of an urgent nature. It has been a slow flu season and therefore the number of children, elderly and chronically ill have not required hospitalization for complications of flu.

Jobs are in Middle America
The number of nurses available for travel assignments has grown and therefore with simple economics of supply and demand, those who are more flexible and have more experience are getting the premier travel assignments. The east and west coasts have been more affected by the economic crisis than middle America and consequently the opportunities in these regions have been affected as well. The jobs now are available in the middle of the country, not Florida and California.

The good news is that the economy will turn around. How soon is being debated. Some predict a few months and others at least a couple of years.

The other factor is that in the next few months, we will see more nurses taking time off from taking on extra shifts or returning to work and being overworked and burned out. This will open up more opportunities.

Gain Experience and Improve Skills
For nurses who are employed or have current travel assignments, make the most of what’s available to you. Extend travel assignments as possible and look for opportunities to polish skills or to gain more experience in specialty areas. Continue your education.

Some travel nursing companies are looking for a minimum of 2 years experience in a specialty area, and making changes right now might even be a negative, but think further into the future and get the experience you want and need. The one thing that is happening across the board for nurses looking for permanent or travel opportunities, is that nurses with very little experience beyond basic med surg are having a harder time finding jobs.

As the economy improves, all those patients who have delayed procedures and care are going to need to have it done and the system is going to be overwhelmed. The nursing shortage has not been solved. There is still going to be a shortage of nearly one million nurses by 2020. Nurses who have positioned themselves to meet the challenges of the next couple of decades will be way out in front.

Post Acute Care Will Grow
Post acute care, especially home health care, is expected to be the fastest growing branch of the nursing profession over the next few years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurses who have excellent skills in a wide variety of patient care will be able to make this transition more easily.

For older nurses who cannot stand for eight to twelve hours a day, home health care may offer a new career path for many years past what they could serve in an acute setting. The key to survival in home health is being confident in your skills, having strong critical thinking skills and being able to work autonomously. Documentation skills are a very important issue in home health care as well.

© 2009 by All Rights Reserved.
By Kathy Quan RN BSN. Kathy is the author of four books including The Everything New Nurse Book and author/owner of

Career Paths Abound in Portland-area Health Care

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs

Health care is called the recession-proof industry with jobs still available at local hospitals, but they aren’t as plentiful as a year ago, human resource directors say. (From left) nurses Stacey Guffey, Marilyn Wheeler and Kent Senffner work in the Progressive Cardiac Care Unit at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital.
Read more in the Oregonian.

Program Doubles Nursing Student Enrollment in Eight Years

Posted in Nursing

Not even nursing has been exempt from the recession.  Nursing school students are often nervous about whether they will find a job after graduation.  But not Allison Frazeur.

She is part of the Providence Scholars Program, a nonprofit center created in 2001 with the goal of increasing the number of nurses and nursing educators in Oregon.

In exchange for agreeing to work for three years for the Providence system in Oregon, the 21-year-old’s last two years of college tuition will be paid for by the program.

The Oregonian says that since the program started in the 2002-2003 academic year,

enrollment has more than doubled in nursing programs at community colleges and private and public universities, said Kristine Campbell, the executive director of the Oregon Center for Nursing.

“I don’t believe any other state has doubled its enrollment,” she added.

Meanwhile, Frazeur is happy to avoid the uncertainty many of her classmates face.  “I feel really fortunate to have a contract,” she said.

Texas Urges Nursing Schools to Increase Enrollment

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Jobs, Nursing News

Texas lawmakers want to give nursing schools incentives to hire more instructors and graduate more nurses in order to combat a growing nursing shortage, The Associated Press reports. The state is estimated to be short of 22,000 nurses already, and the shortage is expected to reach 70,000 by 2020.

Read more in the New York Times.

Nursing Official Appointed to State Board

Posted in Nursing

The Erie Times-News reports that MaryAnn Hewston has been appointed to the Pennsylvania State Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators.

Hewston is currently the director of clinical and support services at Meadville Medical Center.  She will be sworn in to her four-year term on May 20th.  The article explains that the board:

Issues, suspends and revokes registrations and licenses to practice nursing home administration. It also supervises administrators and investigates complaints made against nursing home administrators.


Quick Guide to Selecting a Nursing Home

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Home, Nursing Specialties

In the Suburban Journals article “How to Select a Nursing Home,” author Eric Becker provides a useful “Quick Guide”:


Quick guide

1. Determine what level of care is needed. An individual that is relatively independent may not need a nursing home, but other service, such as an in-home assistant.

2. Research state and federal inspection reports and Medicare 5-star ratings for facilities you are considering.

3. Visit multiple homes. Be sure to speak with family members of residents, the director of nursing, and have the director of nursing address violations of regulations cited in inspection reports.

4. Take a friend or someone else who is not emotionally attached to the individual who needs assistance. He or she may provide a different perspective on each nursing home you visit.

Fewer Job Prospects for Nursing Grads

Posted in Nursing, Travel Nursing Company Reviews

It wasn’t that long ago that a student in nursing program could be confident that a good job was waiting upon graduation.  However, two factors have combined to decrease the likelihood that a new graduate will easily find a nursing job.

First, the projected nursing shortage in the mid-90’s led to various recruitment efforts that worked very well.  For example, in 1999 there were 976 students enrolled in nursing programs in the state of South Dakota.  By last year, that number was up to 1,699.

That means that there are more new graduates just as the demand for nurses has actually gone down.

Under the weight of a worsening economy, hospitals nationally are cutting pay, eliminating raises and laying off employees. Rapid City Regional Hospital, which employs 777 registered nurses, hired 64 nurses last year. This year, the hospital expects to cut back to just 40 to 50 new hires.

While this is bad news for new graduates, there may be some overall benefits:

“At this point, new graduate nurses may not get to pick exactly where they want to go for their first job,” Young said. “But we know … this economic downturn will turn around. … Historically, nursing is a very secure profession.”

That push to second- and third-choice jobs could even be a bonus for South Dakota. New nursing graduates might take jobs in rural areas, which often struggle to keep nurses, Young said.

One current nursing student, Whitney Lenz, remains optimistic.  “I know it will turn around,” she said. “You just don’t know how long it will take.”

Nursing home official admits $600,000 fraud (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Posted in Nursing

A Canonsburg woman who served as the financial controller for two nursing homes admitted yesterday to embezzling more than $600,000 from them.

Gayle Phillips-Smith, 48, pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement from a health care benefit program and to one count of tax evasion.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Ms. Phillips-Smith served as the financial controller at Baldock Health Care Center in North Huntingon, and Humbert Lane Nursing and Rehabilitation in Washington, from 2001 to 2005.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Dembosky said that Ms. Phillips-Smith used an ATM card without authorization nearly 500 times to remove $247,669 between August 2001 and November 2004. Further, he told U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry that she used electronic transfers to her personal bank accounts to take additional money. Sometimes she disguised the payments to herself by representing them to be payments to vendors, Mr. Dembosky said.

In addition, Ms. Phillips-Smith doctored the books at Humbert Lane so that no payroll tax was withheld from her own paycheck and used electronic funds transfers to the IRS for payroll taxes for her personal business, and then later claimed refunds for the excess that was transferred.

Ms. Phillips-Smith faces a possible prison term of 37 to 46 months under the recommended guideline range. In addition to paying back $627,919.31, Ms. Phillips-Smith is responsible for $143,904 in unpaid taxes.

She will be sentenced on July 24.

First published on April 24, 2009 at 12:00 am

UA Nursing School Offers Students Hands-on Experience

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Specialties

At the UA College of Education and Health Professions, the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing offers its students a progressive curriculum to better prepare them for the nursing profession.

After students graduate from an approved nursing program, they often receive on-the-job training, but those who graduate from the UA School of Nursing already have a strong background in hands-on experience.

Many of the courses offered by the UA nursing school incorporate experiential activities to give students a better idea of current issues in the nursing field.

The students in the UA program begin some clinical work experience as early as their sophomore year in the nursing school.

“All of our courses provide services to the individual client or community, as that is what nursing centers (are about), whether it is in the hospital, school system, community center, nursing home or other community agencies in which nursing is present,” said Nancy Smith-Blair, associate professor and interim director of the UA School of Nursing.

Read more in the Arkansas Traveler.

Nursing Home Chief Accused Of Selling Cocaine

Posted in Nursing, Nursing Home, Nursing News

The head of a local nursing home was arrested this week after police said they found her in possession of cocaine.

Amy Dawn Jordan runs the Hillcrest Nursing Center in Moore but didn’t show up for work after her arrest on Wednesday.

Oklahoma City police said they pulled Jordan over after they saw her make an illegal turn. They said they found 26 grams of cocaine in the car and $191 they said came from selling the drug.