St. George Learners and Instructors Give Back

st-george-giving-back-end-of-dayIt was November 1, 2016. Dressed in matching blue shirts and donning the team name of The Lifesavers, Nightingale College learners and instructors in St. George put into practice the Beyond Self value by dedicating three hours to package food for the homeless shelter and disadvantaged for the Day of Caring sponsored by United Way Dixie and Switchpoint Community Resource Center. As a goal of 100,000 meals, the efforts of not only Nightingale College’s learners and staff but the community exceeded the goal to reach 100,656 meals. With over 500 enthusiastic volunteers, the group put together packaged meals that feed up to six people. Read the full article covered by St. George News. Click here.

Going beyond self is a characteristic that Nightingale College challenges all learners and collaborators to strive for each and every day. Not only do The Lifesavers exemplify the value of beyond self through their selfless act, but model collaboration, excellence, and integrity. Mikhail Shneyder, President and CEO of Nightingale College, boasts a friendly reminder, “It’s the power of the community when we help others without expecting anything in return and the world becomes a little bit better through this labor of love.”

Charge Your Study Skills with Your Learning Style

Understanding your individual learning style makes a significant difference when studying and retaining information. Many learners often gravitate toward one learning style but come to prefer another as they develop their knowledge and skills. There are four types of learning styles: visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. Which type of learner are you? Visit with Learner Advising and Life Resources Department to obtain further resources and suggestions on using your learning style to your benefit.

Download the infographic by clicking here.

Graduation of the Fall Class of 2016

Congratulations to our most recent ADN graduates who walked across the stage with their nursing pin and associate degree in nursing. Graduation is one of our most favorite times of the year because we get to celebrate the hard word and dedication of our learners. Furthermore, the Fall Class of 2016 is monumental in Nightingale College’s history. It is the first graduation that includes learners from our DDC locations. The graduating class consisted of learners not only from the Ogden location but from St. George, Utah and Pocatello, Idaho. We look forward to the graduates’ future in nursing.

Missed graduation? Check out the Live Video we took during graduation on our Facebook page. Click here to go to our videos section.

Valedictorian Address by Mandy Wilson

Faculty Address

 

First Day of Nursing School Lab: What to Expect

simulation-lab

Learners in Ogden get hands-on experience with one of Nightingale College’s simulation mannequins during their nursing school lab experience. 

As you prepare to get back into the flow of school and prepare for new learner orientation, it is easy to underestimate all the activities that are involved in nursing school. Besides logging in to your class lectures online, on-ground labs and clinicals are part of the course. Prepping for the online portion of classes is not very complicated; however, preparing for nursing school labs and clinicals can throw you off guard. What is to be expected? Fortunately, you are not the first learner to ponder the question of what to expect your first day of simulation lab.

Nursing school centers around learning how to manage and monitor patients’ health, which comes with developing the necessary skills that go beyond lectures and class discussions. Simulation lab helps learners practice real-world situations on low-, medium-, and high-fidelity mannequins with the guidance of an instructor. It is the opportunity for learners to practice hands-on patient care in a safe environment to learn about taking the proper action when the patient’s health takes a turn for the worse.

As intimidating as it can be to realize you are going to be learning how to manage someone’s health, stay calm and realize that the hands-on instruction you are learning is crucial to developing the skills and knowledge that are required to take care of a patient’s well-being.

It is important to take simulation lab very seriously and imagine yourself working on a real patient as opposed to a mannequin. Instructors will sit back, analyze you as you practice specific skills in treatment, and be attentive to the actions you take to address the health concerns of the patient. For example, when your patient (the mannequin) starts turning blue, you will need to assess why and make the right actions to prevent the patient’s health from declining by talking it through as you fulfill the task.

Simulation lab is not a time to slack off. Take simulation labs very seriously. You will be handling real patients in your clinical experiences.

On your first day of labs, don’t get too overwhelmed. But you should be fully prepared. Here’s what you need to keep in mind to be ready for your first day of clinicals:

  • Dress like a nurse. Remember to wear your Nightingale College uniform. The College provides scrubs to every learner for good reason. Show up to labs in your uniform and adhere to the other guidelines set for attending labs. No learner should show up in scrubs other than the approved Nightingale College learner scrubs. Additionally, learners are required to show up to lab (and clinicals) with scrubs that are neatly laundered and ironed. Wrinkly, dirty scrubs are never acceptable, especially for nurses.
  • You’re in school. Where are your school materials? Bring your computer, notebook, and pen to lab to follow presentations on your computer and to capture important information. The notebook and pen ensure that you can easily jot down notes throughout lab so you aren’t wasting time typing or annoying a fellow nursing learner with your excessive typing. Part of lab is getting up and watching simulations done by the instructor or waiting in line behind fellow classmates to practice on the mannequin. Jot down notes as the instructor talks through the process and is aiding other learners. You can learn quite a bit from listening intently while the instructor is advising other learners.
  • Be conscious of time and respect the time of others. Being on time is important to any career. Make it a priority to be at your scheduled lab on time so you don’t run in late and miss important information. Respecting others’ time helps create a collaborative environment where learning reaches new heights. Do your best to not detain the class from starting.
  • It is a time to ask questions. If there were any time to pose a question in nursing school, it would be in simulation lab. Never hold back a question when it comes to a patient’s health. Often, registered nurses fear asking doctors for clarifications regarding a patient’s treatment; this is where mistakes happen. Learn to ask questions if you are unsure about the task at hand. However, learn to ask questions directly and quickly. The health care environment is fast paced and there is no time to stumble around a question.
  • You’re a nurse. Bring your nursing equipment like your stethoscope and learner ID badge. Enough said.

Simulation lab is a fun experience that allows you to finally practice care as opposed to read about it in your class materials. It is the part of the class that you gain the most experience from as you should always think in terms of action, not facts. Join your classmates in lab with a positive attitude. Simulation lab lasts a few hours and torpedoing the environment with negativity may keep other classmates from paying attention and positively engaging in the activities and post-lab discussions. Not to mention, your future patients will appreciate a positive and upbeat attitude.

Take a Glimpse at Nightingale College’s Simulation Lab

11 New Year’s Resolutions for Nursing Learners

new-years-resolutions

As a nursing learner, it is important to focus the new year on selecting goals that will advance your nursing career. Look back and think of the New Year’s resolutions you set for yourself this past year (if you are not part of the thirty-eight percent that does not make resolutions). Were you able to achieve one or all your goals?

A small percentage, eight percent to be exact, accomplish the goals they set. We get it. Picking a goal and having a whole year to achieve it may not possible and sometimes, life intervenes and torpedoes your chances of being in the select eight percent group.

Although, we can provide stellar advice on how to combat life’s roadblocks, one piece of advice that needs to be remembered is to select resolutions that are specific, attainable, and realistic.

One of your goals for 2016 may have been to start nursing school. Congratulations on crushing that goal. Your goal for next year can be to graduate nursing school, pass the state licensure exam, and secure a job as a staff nurse. Another may be continuing your education by returning to school to obtain a BSN degree.

No matter what resolutions you decide to go after in 2017, we encourage you to review our recommended New Year’s resolutions for nursing learners and add the goals to your list. Plus, we are here to help you achieve each goal, so your resolution of accomplishing a New Year’s resolution will happen.

Make sure your resume and cover letter have been proofed. If you haven’t had the time to start getting your resume and cover letter in order, the time is now. Even if you are just starting nursing school, having an updated, current resume and cover letter at the ready are essential.

Clinicals are a great time to start making connections with facilities that are of interest. In case you run across the recruiting manager, a ready-to-go resume and cover letter will come in handy. It is never too early to start networking with other health care professionals and nurses.

Nightingale College’s Learner Advising and Life Resources Department provides resume and cover letter reviews free of charge and will provide you with instrumental feedback to make sure your documents are in top shape and reflect well on you as a nursing candidate.

45 Tips to a Strong Resume

11 Tips to Writing a Memorable Cover Letter

Get a handle on those time management skills. Your time is valuable, so make sure you are using it wisely. As nursing school starts rolling, you will find yourself mid-semester wondering where the time has gone. Understand that not having enough time to review class material will influence how you do in the class and, ultimately, how you feel about the nursing profession. Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed by learning positive time management skills. Set aside time for both your school and personal life, and for some, your work life. Although nursing school is demanding, don’t forget to take the necessary time to unplug from work and school, and just relax.

Improve your study habits. Trash the useless study habits that aren’t beneficial and focus on the studying techniques that work well. Study groups are great avenues if you do well in that type of setting, but be careful that your study group doesn’t turn into social hour. Have a set schedule before your study group meets and do you best to stick with it. If you study better on an individual basis, avoid study groups and other activities that do not work for you.

Learn about your learning style. What type of learner are you: auditory, visual, or experiential? Each person learns differently. Knowing your learning style will help you prepare for classes that are not presented in your preferred learning style. Majority of people have been taught how to work with information presented in all three styles, but now is the time to zero in on what style works best for you and find remedies to help when dealing with the other styles.

Recognize your weaknesses and work to improve them. No one knows you better than you do. Use this knowledge to your advantage and assess the areas that need a little extra attention. Nursing school will be challenging and will test your knowledge, your limits, and your character.

Don’t let it tamper with your weaknesses, use every moment as a way of improving and building yourself up. Seek out assistance and advice for improving your weaknesses.

Seek help right away and be wary of what you hear. An important rule of thumb in nursing school is if you have a question, get help right away. Don’t wait around. Find out the answer to your questions by speaking with your instructor or with the Learner Advising and Life Resources Department (LALR).

It is easy to listen to what members of your cohort are saying; however, you shouldn’t rely on them altogether. Be wary of what you hear through the grapevine and always ask or confirm with the instructor or Nightingale College administration member.

Learning to go to the right source for information will not only help you make it through nursing school but will help you in your nursing career. Imagine how detrimental a situation can be if you, as a nurse, turn to the wrong person or only listen to a specific person regarding an issue instead of taking it upon yourself to acquire about the correct information from the right source. Scary.

Build up a tough exterior. Nursing is a profession that is not for the faint of heart nor the weak. Keep in mind that the health care field is stressful, and part of nursing school is to prepare you for those tough situations.

Get into the habit of building up a tough exterior and working in an environment that is stressful, fast paced, and sometimes be heartless. However, always be proud to be a nurse and join such a prestige network of health care soldiers.

Set up your LinkedIn profile and learn to network. It is time to get with today and understand how important social media is to your career. A popular question is: Why do I need to have a LinkedIn when I can apply by sending in my resume. Although the old-fashioned way is an option—for now, creating and updating a LinkedIn account is simple and easy; it is your online cover letter and resume in one. No longer is the need to search for the correct resume format or dilly-dally over what should be included in your cover letter.

LinkedIn covers every item that should be included in each: summary that can be used as a general cover letter, work experience with the opportunity to provide details for each, education and volunteer experience, and a section dedicated to showing off your skills that have been endorsed by your network.

Additionally, you can have a set of recommendations from instructors and mentors on your profile. LinkedIn makes it easy for you to keep your career materials current and helps potential employers access your information. Employers now will search the applicant’s social media presence and will determine if that person is the best fit for the company by what they see on the profiles pages.

But do not underestimate the power of the traditional resume and cover letter. Having a resume and cover letter ready to go is essential. Some employers may still request applicants apply with a resume.

Develop relationships and start collecting those letters of recommendation. It is never too early to start targeting potential mentors who will be able to write a spectacular recommendation for you. Always remember to ask permission before including someone’s name and contact information as a reference.

Be picky on who you chose and seek out opportunities to build relationships and network with others. LinkedIn is a great place to join specific groups and start developing relationships.

Access Nightingale College’s alumni network on LinkedIn to connect with like-minded nursing professionals.

Prepare for the next step on your nursing journey. Whether you are heading into another semester or facing life after graduation, be prepared to the best of your ability. If you are up against another semester of nursing school, start off strong by reading through the class syllabus and know the clinical schedule.

If you have walked across the stage with your ASN degree in hand, consider continuing your education onto a BSN degree with an RN to BSN Program, as more employers are preferring potential employees to have one. Being prepared is the best thing you can do for yourself and career.

Complete BSN Guide

Being a BSN-Prepared Nurse

Be curious. Did you know that there is a little over one hundred different nursing areas you can specialize in? Often, learners are sold on a field of nursing before starting nursing school. By the time graduation swings by, the learner has changed specialties because of the practices experienced. Be curious.

Explore the various nursing career options available before limiting yourself to one. Passions for a specialty may arise after taking a certain class or talking with an instructor.

The 11th is for you to decide. Each nursing learner is tackling a unique journey, so don’t be deterred by another’s resolutions. However, these are basic items that every nursing learner should consider for the upcoming year. Think hard. What would be your 11th nursing New Year’s resolution?

De-Stress this Season in 10 Steps or Less

‘Tis the season to unwind, reflect back on the year, and prepare for next year. However, it is also a time many people increase their level of stress. (Holidays can do that to a person.) Nursing school is stressful, but there are influences outside of school that can add to the stress that is already there. Learning to handle stress and alleviate it in a healthy manner is a skill that pays off in the long run and can be applied not only in nursing school. Take the time this season to focus on de-stressing.

Here are 10 tips to help de-stress your holiday season, so you can start the new year off with a positive attitude. Take a 10- to 15-minute break when the stress starts to build up, and experiment with these de-stressing tips:

      1. Listen to your favorite music. Take a break from studying, holiday shopping, or pesky relatives that talk politics to unwind. Lie down on your back, listen to your music, and breath. As a relaxation technique, music is shown to help people escape from stress. Another great musical tip, especially if you can’t focus in silence, is to listen to Hans Zimmer Pandora.  The music has no distracting lyrics and the scores are intended to motivate and relax you.
      2. Stretch and meditate. Focus on how it feels to help eliminate stress. Many of us tend to study in awkward positions, hurting our necks and back.  Rolling your neck and stretching your back will help you feel more comfortable and alleviate some of that stress in your body. The art of meditation is to calm the mind and focus on your body. Focus on breathing by taking deep breaths and escape the world for a few minutes.
      3. Stand up and get moving. If meditating is not for you or you have been sitting longer than 20 minutes, it is recommended to go for a short walk to refocus and get out of the slump. Plus, sitting for long periods of time is not advisable. Simply moving your body helps blood circulation as well as refreshes the mind. For example, when studying gets a bit tedious, taking a walk or getting up to stretch will do wonders. Do 20 jumping jacks, jump rope, or even just dance.
      4. Color away the stress. There are great adult coloring books out there as well as free printable coloring pages and apps designed to help adults relax. Placate the inner child and grab a coloring book. Coloring requires focus, design, and various colors. Set aside the tasks at hand or thoughts that are causing stress and try some color therapy. Coloring is said to develop focus and mindfulness. In a world filled with distractions and stress-inducing situations, learning to refocus is vital.
      5. Laugh it out. A popular technique is to just laugh. After all, laughter is the best medicine. Take a break and spend a few minutes watching or reading something funny. There is a lot of power in laughter. Ever heard of Norman Cousins? He laughed death in the face and defeated a painful disease that doctors said couldn’t be helped. Simply put, Cousins suffered from a connective tissue disorder, resulting in terrible bouts of pain. Doctors did what they could but in the end, Cousins continued to have pain. He checked in to a hotel and watched numerous hilarious videos. Cousins lived years longer than doctors suspected and experienced little pain after. Does it prove laughter has healing properties? No one knows, but what Cousins’ story shows us is the power of laughter.
      6. Act. Squeezing a stress ball or punching a pillow can help get some of that stress out that has been bottled up. People today find exercising a great stress reliever that motivates them to lift more weights than yesterday, run that extra mile, and do five more pull ups than before. Bottled up stress is dangerous to the person and those around them. To avoid snapping under pressure, find an outlet to channel the stress by getting active and using it as motivation to challenge yourself. It can be something as simple as punching a pillow or as intense as putting on a boot camp-style workout video and spending 15 to 30 minutes breaking a sweat.
      7. Write. For some, writing is a way of removing stress. Whether it is escaping into a fictional world or writing goals for the week, writing does amazing things to the mind when it comes to relaxation. Write down some of the things you or grateful for and reasons why your goal (of becoming a nurse!) is so important to you. This will help you focus on what is important in your life and be a visual reminder to you.
      8. Take a shower and wash off some of that stress. Sometimes to decrease the amount of stress is as simple as hopping in a shower. Showers and baths are therapeutic, which is why people recommend showers as a time to unwind. The hot water also helps improve blood circulation, relieves stiff muscles such as in the neck and shoulders (refer to point 2 above). Using some aromatherapy scents in the shower, like lavender, can be extremely helpful.
      9. Pet an animal. Animals are known to help alleviate stress. By petting or playing with an animal, oxytoin is released, which is known as the stress-reducing hormone. For example, therapy animals are widely used in a variety of settings. From treating Alzheimer patients to helping young children learn to care for an animal, animals have an incredible influence on humans. It must be those big eyes and loving heart that captures us all.
      10. Think positive. The power of the mind is incredible, as you all know. The glass-half-empty mentality should be replaced quickly with the glass-half-full idea. Understanding that stressful situations will arise and being able to reframe it to see the positive and the benefits of completing the challenge changes your whole perception. “You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit.” – Norman Vincent Peale

Next time you find yourself ready to pull your hair out or dealing with an early mid-life crisis, remember to take a break and find activities that will decrease stress. Stress has been shown to decrease the immune system, influence hair loss, initiate weight gain, bring on depression, and other unfortunate outcomes. When all else fails, unplug yourself by taking a vacation, spending time with loved ones and friends, and enjoy the time. For situations that cannot be avoided, reward yourself after with a treat or event that will allow you to let go and slow down.

Goal Setting for Nursing Learners: Learning the Art of S.M.A.R.T. Goals

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Learners at Nightingale have one common goal—to graduate from nursing school and become a licensed nurse, which is a big accomplishment. Before jumping to the final goal and possibly underestimating what it takes to complete such an ambitious endeavor, establishing milestones and a set time frame for each milestone have shown to help improve the likelihood of achieving your goal. Breaking your main goal into smaller steps will help you stay on track and more importantly, understand the elements that make up the end goal you have set for yourself.

Don’t forget to download and complete our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet or to use it as a basis for learning to set the right goal that can be accomplished.

What milestones can learners set that together work towards achieving the final goal?

Making a goal to finish your schoolwork on a specific day, sticking to a specific study schedule, getting a certain score on a test or in a course, practicing something at clinicals, and similar day-to-day activities are milestones that you can set to help progress in the right direction. These day-to-day activities are not only milestones of the grander goal of becoming a licensed nurse, but can be individual goals with milestones of their own.

What is the set time frame that is needed for each milestone?

Make a timeline that starts with today, then a goal for next week, next month, 6 months from now, 1 year, or however long you believe is needed to master a specific milestone. The time frame is unique to each person, so take the time to create one that is exclusive to you, your milestones and goals. One of the greatest ways to set a goal is to remember to be S.M.A.R.T. about it, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Each goal and milestone you set should fit the five categories of S.M.A.R.T. goal setting.

Here are some tips to help you think S.M.A.R.T. about setting your goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Be Specific. Goals that are too broad are hard to define and even harder to accomplish because the goal is not specific enough to be reached. Be as detailed as possible. What do you want to achieve? The more details you have, the easier it is to plan and the easier it is to know what you are working towards.

Keep it Measurable. How do you determine success that you have successfully met your goal? Without measurement of some kind, you may doubt whether you have achieved your goal or milestone. Make sure your goals are measurable. The vaguer you set the goals and milestones, the less you will be able to envision them.

Keep it Attainable. Working towards a goal that is not attainable is not a smart route. Take a moment to determine all the elements associated with the goal and whether you have the resources available to complete it. When resources are scarce, visualize another direction to get to the goal or reframe the way you’ve set the goal. A few quick tweaks here and there may do the trick to make your goal and milestones attainable. Remember to not overwhelm yourself, but do try and challenge yourself with your milestones and goals. Challenge brings growth. You want to be able to succeed, so make sure it is a challenge that is attainable.

Be Realistic. Set your goal on what you believe you can do. Much like keeping your goal and milestones attainable, if the goal you have set is not realistic then determine whether it is worth the time and effort that is needed to accomplish it. Several factors that make a goal less realistic are not difficult to determine. Such factors can be current situations in your personal or family life, finances, time, available resources, and so forth. Be realistic with your current situation and honest with yourself. Setting goals that are not realistic will have you looking for ways to jump off the train before even getting started and will deter your determination to achieve the milestones and goal. Focus on what has worked for you in the past and what you are willing to work on and for in the future.

Keep it Timely. A set goal and milestones are rarely accomplished when you do not hold yourself to a specific time schedule. Establishing and keeping the deadlines for your milestones and goals continuously help you stay committed to fulfilling the tasks and goal. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you complete a milestone or goal. Even the smallest milestones should be celebrated if you were able to complete it on time. Set a date for your goal and each milestone to be achieved. Make sure you give yourself enough time to complete your goal, but not too much time which can lead to procrastination.

The sweet taste of success and accomplishment accompanies hard work, diligence, and dedication. The strategy of goal setting can be helpful in all aspects of life, not just in nursing school. Discovering what you want to accomplish and creating S.M.A.R.T. milestones to reach the goal will help you continuously improve and grow. Nurses are constantly required to adapt to new changes, and learn new concepts and skills. Determine what goals (and milestones) you want to set for yourself while in nursing school, but don’t forget to look ahead and decide what goals you have for your nursing career. Whatever comes your way, start by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals and milestones—the stepping stones that will help guide you to achieving the goal with less stress and make it a rewarding journey.

Download our S.M.A.R.T. Goals Worksheet and get started on setting your goals (and maybe New Year’s resolutions) by clicking the button below.

 

Being a BSN-prepared Nurse

benefits-of-a-bsnNightingale College RN to BSN Program graduate with Nightingale College’s President and CEO, Mikhail Shneyder. (May 6, 2016)

Congratulations on being part of the esteemed profession of nursing. Not everyone can fulfill the duties and responsibilities nurses endure on a daily basis that test not only their competencies but their emotional stability. As the top trusted profession, nursing yields many rewards and embodies selflessness and compassion, two ideal characteristics each nurse is encouraged to possess. The constantly evolving health care landscape advances each year as the diverse needs of patients grow. Nurses in particular are preferred to continuously advance their education alongside the advancements of health care, helping nurses learn the latest skills and knowledge to truly deliver quality patient care. Additionally, the importance of BSN-prepared nurses in rural communities rise even more as nurses in these settings must possess a broad array of knowledge and skills to treat communities that have a low number of accessible and local health care professionals.

To solidify a nurse’s career, higher education is needed and preferred by many employers who see the benefits of having BSN-prepared nurses on staff. Although many nurses stop after obtaining an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) and passing the national licensure exam (NCLEX-RN), the developments in health care push nurses to go back to school to acquire the skills and knowledge a BSN degree program delivers. According to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations, 80% of nurses need to be BSN prepared to improve the benefits provided to communities. Research associated with BSN-prepared nurses and patient care illustrate the decrease in the mortality and morbidity rates in facilities that have nurses with a BSN degree on staff. It does not suggest associate degree nurses are not equipped to handle patients in a variety of settings, but nurses who have been further trained and hold a BSN degree have gained advanced knowledge and skills as well as critical thinking and leadership characteristics, preparing them to practice in a variety of care settings, treat chronic illnesses, and pursue specialized nursing professions.

Become a Better Nurse with a BSN Degree

The higher qualifications gained through the BSN curriculum train nurses to fulfill higher leadership positions and nursing specialties. Not all BSN-prepared nurses work in administrative roles; the need for bedside BSN nurses constantly rises. Nurses with a BSN degree can practice in more settings such as critical care, outpatient services, and community clinics, which are some of the opportunities available among a numerous list of other possibilities. Many nursing specialties that are very popular require a BSN degree as the minimum requirement along with years of experience. Some nursing specialties that require a BSN degree are

 

  • Clinical nurse leader
  • Critical care nurse
  • Flight nurse
  • Informatics nurse
  • Nurse advocate
  • Nurse manager
  • Occupational health nurse
  • Oncology nurse
  • Perioperative nurse

However, many nursing positions require advanced degrees that surpass the bachelor’s degree level for positions like nurse practitioner and nursing instructor. As a nurse, continuous education should always be a priority. Explore the full list of nursing specialties by clicking here. The nursing profession provides many avenues for nurses to take once graduated and licensed. Many current job openings for registered nurses require an ASN degree and, of course, a current, active nursing license in the specific state of employment. By 2024, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics asserts the projected employment for nurses will reach over 3.1 million nurses including both replacement hires needed to fill the gap of nurses retiring and new nurses needed to address the escalating community health needs. It can be expected that the future of employment for nurses will include a bachelor’s degree as the minimum level of education because employers and health care facilities are able to see the impact BSN-prepared nurses make in regards to the quality of patient care and safety provided. As the health care system changes over time and a BSN degree will be required for almost all entry-level RN positions, nurses will be encouraged to continue to advance their degree level.

Nurses who advance their career by seeking higher levels of education open up more job opportunities, including promotions and leadership positions, and enjoy salary increases that are associated with their enhanced skills and knowledge. The difference in salary between ASN- and BSN-prepared nurses do not differ much, however, BSN-prepared nurses are able to apply for higher-level positions that comes with a higher pay.

Having a BSN degree can have an influence on a nursing graduate’s career right after graduation. While the nursing shortage shows ample opportunities for new nursing graduates, BSN-prepared nurses who apply are preferred applicants because of their level of degree and the skills and knowledge they bring with them to nursing units.

“There are many reasons to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and while an Associate’s Degree in nursing is a result of the most efficient pathway to becoming a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s Degree in nursing opens so many more opportunities. If you are currently a registered nurse with an ASN degree, you should be encouraged to pursue your BSN. Opportunities in nursing education, nursing management, federal agencies, and the military, for example, all require a minimum of a BSN degree. Some states are evaluating their entry-into-practice laws and are considering requiring a BSN to be the standard for practicing as a registered nurse. In 2013 the Roberts Woods Johnson Foundation published their findings supporting the outcomes of their lengthy study demonstrating the evidence linking better patient outcomes to baccalaureate and higher degree nurses. In 2010 the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on The Future of Nursing, initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which called for increasing the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses in the workforce to 80% by 2020. The future of nursing lies in the age old discussion of the ‘entry into practice’ being at the baccalaureate level. That time is upon us now, and it’s only a matter of time before a BSN is the requirement to practice as a registered nurse.”

Sue Jero, MSN, RN

Ready to take the next step in your nursing career and be BSN prepared? Check out Nightingale College’s RN to BSN Bridge Program.

A Crumpled Mess: Why Clean Scrubs Matter

scrubsScrubs are the vital uniform for nurses, but no matter how important, scrubs are often overlooked when it comes to being presentable. After a long shift, your scrubs will be in worse shape and will need a definite deep wash to remove germs from the fabric, which is why nurses are asked to keep their scrubs clean—for the safety of patients, visitors, and fellow healthcare employees.

It may be strange to consider that the appearance of scrubs can have such a big impact when interacting with other nurses, doctors, and patients. But nurses need to pay close attention to the impression they make when they are sporting wrinkly, stained, dirty scrubs.

Taking care of your appearance while in nursing school should be a main objective. During labs, learners are instructed to dress in the professional nursing attire for a reason. Scrubs are often the item that is considered last. Clinicals are an important time for learners to practice networking with potential employers and fellow nurses who can be a great resource when scouting for references to accompany a job application. And the way you keep your scrubs says quite a bit about you, your hygiene, and your character.

Insider Tip: When making a first impression, a person has less than seven seconds to impress another individual. Many first impressions are made based off of a person’s appearance. Even before the conversation or interview begins, the first impression has been made. Nursing learners have a great opportunity to network in a variety of healthcare settings during clinicals. It is a prime location and time to get a foot in the door if it is an organization that is desirable. Upon graduation and passing the NCLEX-RN, graduates can reconnect with influential people employed at the desired locations and investigate the facility’s hiring needs from an inside source. Make it your goal to leave the best impression you can by not only showcasing your competences but by showing you value your appearance and are interested in representing the employer well. Sneaky? Not really, just smart.

So why do clean scrubs matter?

Reason #1: It speaks to your work ethic.

Part of being a nurse is having comfortable clothes that can withstand long hours of wear and tear. It is understandable that nurses do not always have the time to get ready nor have the time during a shift to tidy up. However, the way you take care of yourself illustrates your work ethic. If you have the patience and make the time to care for yourself and your scrubs, it shows that you pay attention to the little things, which will spill over into your work environment. Having the right work attire also influences the response you will receive from others. Nurses with tidy, clean scrubs elicit a more positive and engaging response from those around them than nurses wearing scrubs that were not taken care of.

Reason #2: It makes a good impression.

Continuing on from Reason #1, clean scrubs make a good impression on fellow colleagues, administration, and patients and visitors. A nurse donning clean scrubs eludes to confidence and value in the job. Imagine a nurse coming in for a shift with dirty, wrinkly scrubs, then a fellow nurse coming in for the same shift with clean scrubs. As a patient, which nurse do you hope to take care of you? Unfortunately, appearance does make a big impression, especially in the healthcare field. People associate dirty and untidy with disease ridden.

Think of clean scrubs on the same level as washing your hands and wearing gloves. The scrub material catches germs and whatever else ends up on the material just as your hands can be exposed to the same elements (which is why healthcare professionals are required to wear gloves). Nurses do not reuse gloves. Think of your scrubs in the same sense and remember to care for them and wash them after every shift.

Reason #3: You will feel professional. It’s about dressing for the job you want.

When you take the time to get ready for work each day, what you wear can influence your outlook. Putting on clean scrubs right before a clinical or a shift helps you feel prepared for your day instead of looking in the mirror wishing you could iron out the wrinkles on the left side of your scrub top. Have pride in yourself and your job, and show that you do care. It is your professional appearance and your brand that you are endorsing so do it well. A famous saying is dress for the job you want. Surprisingly, this statement is very much true.

Reason #4: Scrubs are expensive, so give your scrubs the best treatment.

Nice scrubs can be expensive to purchase, especially the brands that provide extra comfort and allow you to easily move without rubbing against brittle fabric or the fabric that fits terribly. Just as it is advisable to get yourself a good pair of shoes that provides exceptional support, invest in a few good pairs of scrubs. Once purchased, take the utmost care in washing your scrubs twice to remove all germs and right out of the dryer, take a few minutes to fold them to reduce wrinkly lines so you don’t resemble a crumpled mess.

Keeping scrubs clean is not always at the top of the list while in nursing school. While you are being stretched so thin balancing work, school, and sometimes a family, it is hard to remember to throw the scrubs you used earlier today in the wash and iron out the wrinkles. But it will make a big difference in your future career as a nurse.

So why do clean scrubs matter? Once employed, you become a reflection of your employer and employers want their nurses to represent their organization well. You, as a nurse, should take pride and value in yourself and the nursing profession. Professional appearance matters a lot.

What does this mean for those still in nursing school?

Pay special attention to who you interact with while at your next clinical. Even though you may not interact directly with the DON or the recruiting manager, people will come to know you and they will be able to speak to your appearance. Take the time to care for the scrubs you wear and make sure your appearance is a positive reflection of you as a great nurse. While attending a lab or clinical, make sure that you adhere to the policies about your professional appearance and never, ever underestimate the state of your scrubs. It’s the impression you make about you, your work ethic, and your character.

Read 4 Scrubbing Essentials for Safe and Tidy Scrubs to learn how to properly clean scrubs by clicking here.

Check out Your Professional Presence: Advice on Dress and Appearance to review helpful tips and review the basics of professional appearance by clicking here.

Taking Nursing to the Sky: Meet Mark Larsen, Flight Nurse

mark-snapshotEver considered a career in flight nursing? Take nursing to the sky as a flight nurse. Flight nursing requires nurses to help monitor patients during transport to the hospital. Nurses who pursue a career in flight nursing need to be BSN prepared. Mark Larsen is a Nightingale favorite who works in the lab at the Ogden location. When he isn’t here helping learners during their lab simulations, Mark takes the time to save lives by continuing his part-time job as a flight nurse. The fast-paced career of a flight nurse is not for everyone, but for those interested in learning more, take some time to chat with Mark and get to know the specialty.


What is your current position at the College?

Lab and Simulation Coordinator

How long have you been employed with the College?
15 Months

Why did you decide to pursue a career in nursing? If you weren’t a nurse, what career would you most likely have?
I started out wanting to be a physical therapist and took and EMT class to further evolve my resume for admission into physical therapy school. However after taking that class, I found physical therapy to be extremely boring, so just before I was to start physical therapy school I changed my major to nursing in order to someday become a flight nurse. If I wasn’t a nurse, I believe that I would be in business or management as I enjoy performing those roles as well.

Prior to becoming a collaborator here, what was one of your favorite jobs you have had?
My favorite job prior to becoming a collaborator for Nightingale, was the part-time job that I still hold as a flight nurse. It was the job I went to school for and the goal that I wanted to achieve. Although I am now trying to move on from it, I still enjoy the excitement of the job.

You specialize in flight nursing. Can you provide a brief description on the highlights from that career path?
Some highlights would include starting out as a new flight nurse and all of the exciting places that I got to travel to. I always thought that it was cool to fly in places that most people never get to go, or have to pay a lot of money to see that I get paid to go; such as: the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Zion National park and all over the western United States. I also worked for 6 or 7 years as the Chief Flight Nurse, where I played an important part with company expansion, education, policy development, hiring and overall growth of the company.

View Mark’s full presentation on flight nursing and what it takes to be a flight nurse by clicking here.

What inspired you to pursue an teaching position where you work with learners?
I started out pursuing a masters as a nurse practitioner, but due to my job requirements as chief flight nurse, I didn’t have time to attend all of the required clinical, so I switched to education. And since my master’s degree would be in education, I thought I should put it to good use.

What has been a favorite moment while working here at the College?
My favorite moments are at graduation, when I see that I have helped the learners achieve their goals.

What has been a crazy memory you’ve had as a nurse? Share that experience.
I don’t know if there is really a “crazy” time in my career that stands out to me. I’ve done things like climb inside a wrecked car to treat a patient while the fire department cuts the care apart around me; I repelled off of a cliff to get to patients; I tackled people running from the police in the emergency department; and I have even helped catch a kidnapper in the ER as well.

Do you believe continuing education is important for nurses such as going on to obtain a BSN degree?
I believe that a BSN helps to increase the professional development of a nurse. I believe that an ADN is an excellent way to start in the profession, but obtaining the BSN is what makes the difference from changing nursing from just a job into a career. It also opens up many more opportunities in the future. As you continue to work in the profession your goals will change, and a BSN will open the doors for many more opportunities. Check out Nightingale College’s RN to BSN Bridge Program.

If you could pass on one piece of advice to our learners, what would it be?
Don’t ever stop working toward your goals. If you want it bad enough you will achieve it.

Are you originally from Utah? 
I am originally from a small town in central Utah called Salina. I have lived in Utah my entire life except for 6 years I spent in Page, AZ (which really is like an extension of Utah). My family and extended family is what keeps me here, because I absolutely hate the snow. But overall Utah is a great place to live.

Outside of hanging with all the cool people here at Nightingale, what are some of your favorite hobbies and passions?
My passions include first my family, then the Chicago White Sox, Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and watching movies. I pretty much spend all of my free time watching my kids sports activities or playing sports myself.

What are 3 items on your bucket list that you would like to complete?
I want to visit Scotland and New Zealand, retire, and win the lottery.

If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)

Share anything else you would like people to know about you.
I graduated from Weber State nursing 16 or so years ago.
I am married (Cindy) and have four kids (Cole, Kyler, Mason and Reagan).
I have one Chihuahua (Skittles).
I hate to read (audio books or movies are the way to go).
Favorite movie is Braveheart.
Favorite song is The World I Know by Collective Soul.
Favorite band is The Smashing Pumpkins.