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 This page was last updated on 15-Jun-02

  Archives I
 Black History Month

I am doing a report for Black History Month.  Can you tell me about important black historical figures in nursing?

The history of nursing is filled with outstanding contributions from visionary black nurses.  Did you know that reknowned black historical figures Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were nurses? Tubman, who made 19 trips on the Underground Railroad to free over 300 African Americans, worked as a nurse and Union spy during the Civil War.  Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist and suffragette, was also a skilled nurse.

Here are some other important historical figures in nursing:

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was the profession's first black nurse.  A graduate of the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1879, she was one of only three students to complete the program.  Known for her leadership and contributions to the profession, she was an advocate of equal status for black nurses.  In 1936, the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses created a namesake award in her honor, and in 1976, she was inducted into the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame.

Mabel Keaton Staupers (1890-1989) is known for her tireless work promoting equality for black nurses and improved access to healthcare for black Americans.  Her work with the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses helped black nurses gain full membership privileges in the American Nurses Association in 1948.  An ANA Hall of Fame member, Staupers wrote a book, No Time for Prejudice, that recounts her struggles against racism and fight for equal rights in the nursing profession.

Susie King Taylor (1848-1912) was the first black army nurse - and self-taught, at that! When her husband joined the First South Carolina Volunteers, an all-black army made up of former slaves, medical help was in short supply.  Susie jumped right in and worked on the battlefield for 4 years.

For more information on black nurses in history, you may enjoy the following website:

Good luck on your report!
- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Why BSN?

I am continually hearing how RN's should get their BSN. I would like to know why and how this would benefit me. Unless I would choose to teach, what is the point? I attended a hospital-based diploma program, and I still feel I got a better education than the BSNs in my town did. I fail to see how taking English Lit is going to make me a better nurse.

The philosophy surrounding the 4-year degree program is that graduates will have a broader knowledge base on which to build their nursing practice.  Baccalaureate RNs do take more humanities courses (such as philosophy and history), but they also benefit from expanded studies in nursing theory, management, the sciences and nursing research.

By itself, a BSN won't double your earning power or expand your scope of practice.  In terms of salary, the difference between entry-level 2-year, 4-year and diploma RNs is negligible.  Truthfully, experience, advanced degrees and specialty certification have more weight when it comes to income.  The same applies to scope of practice.  To expand your practice, an MSN is the minimum requirement.

So what does the BSN do for you? It gives you more options and flexibility.  If you want to go into management, research, education or advanced practice nursing, the BSN is the first stepping stone to reach those goals.

Not everyone wants to become an advanced practice nurse or go into management, however - and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  A fulfilling, rewarding career in nursing is not dependent on a 4-year degree.  It must be kept in mind that all RNs, regardless of their education, are highly qualified, skilled nurses - we all take the same licensing exam.  The bottom line is that your nursing education is an investment in your career; it should give you the level of knowledge and skills necessary to do the job you want to do.  If you are already qualified to do the job you love and are enjoying a successful career in nursing, there is no need to invest additional time and money in a BSN.
- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 School and Work

As a married mother of 4, I have little time to work on my at home study program (formerly the Regents Program) for my RN degree. The nearest nursing school is 50 miles away. Unfortunately, I must work full-time in order to pay bills, making schooling impossible and unaffordable. Any ideas? I desperately want to obtain my degree (RN) and go further for my nurse practitioner.
- Kris, LPN

The best option for your situation is to come up with creative ways to make the nursing program through Excelsior College (formerly Regents) work for you.  Working and parenting 4 children is truly like having two full-time jobs.  The 50-mile commute and time on-campus required of the nearest nursing program is just not practical or advisable.

The two biggest issues you are facing, as I understand it, are finances and time.  Let's first address your financial situation to see if there are any unchecked avenues that could ease your burden.  Have you checked with your employer regarding tuition assistance programs?  Many healthcare organizations offer such education benefits to attract and keep qualified nursing staff.  Student loan repayment programs, facility-sponsored scholarships, and tuition reimbursement programs can reduce some of your up-front and long-term educational expenses.  Additionally, talk with the financial aid advisors at Excelsior.  Assistance is available in the form of scholarships, state aid and private loans.  Anything you can do to ease your monthly budget while you get through school will serve to lessen your stress.

Stress brings us to your second concern - finding the time to work on your nursing studies.  Raising a family, working full-time and getting through nursing school is no easy feat. It comes down to personal commitment, family support, effective time management strategies and balance.

Your strongest ally and greatest source of support is your husband.  Sit down with him and develop a workable plan of action.  Are there ways he can pitch in and help to free up more of your time?  Could he take on some more household responsibilities for the interim?  Could he watch the children for an hour or two a couple nights of the week so you can go to the library or some other quiet location to study?  

Your children can help, too.  You didn't mention their ages, but if they are in school themselves, how about creating a family study time?  What a great way to reinforce positive study habits by making it a family activity!  Also, think about giving the kids some household responsibilities.  Even the littlest children can pick up their room, help set and clear the table, bring the dirty clothes to the laundry room, etc. Relax your standards a bit for now, and let your family work together as a team.

Finally, give something in return.  Set aside one day each week for family time - no school, no work - just family.  Your husband and children will be more agreeable to helping you during the week if they know they are a priority.  This will also help you find balance, which is essential to your outlook and wellbeing.
- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Nursing in the U.S.

I have completed my bachelor's degree in nursing in the Philippines and am now pursuing graduate studies.  I plan to work in the U.S. because I feel it will be more rewarding there.  I have heard that the U.S. nursing shortage will last up to 10 years - is that correct?  Also, will my master's degree be an asset?  Thanks!

Congratulations on completing your nursing degree and beginning the graduate program!  Both are tremendous accomplishments - you should be proud!

You are correct about the nursing shortage in the United States - it won't be going away any time soon.  There are several reasons why, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics:
The field of nursing is expected to grow faster than average through 2008.  In fact, it is one of the top 10 growth sectors in the nation that are projected to create the most new jobs.
Large proportions of experienced nurses are starting to retire, and there are not yet enough new nurses to replace them.

The baby boomer generation, too, is now reaching retirement age.  The healthcare needs of this population group are complex and will require long-term solutions.  Heart disease, for example, is a major issue faced by the baby boomers.

Technological advances now allow for the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions that were previously unknown or untreatable.

Finally, in addition to traditional hospital nursing, the fields of home health, ambulatory care, community health and long-term care are growing, creating a higher demand for skilled nurses across the country.

As you can see, the need for qualified nursing professionals will continue to be high for the foreseeable future, particularly in under-served urban and rural areas.

Your graduate degree will definitely be an asset when you come to work in the United States.  More career choices will be available to you and you will be in a position to earn higher wages.  Advanced practice nurses additionally report increased professional autonomy and greater personal satisfaction with their careers.  They sky's the limit and you are on the right path to a successful career in nursing in the U.S.  Best wishes to you as you complete your education!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 License Transfer

I am currently studying to become a RN in NJ, but would like to work (once I obtain my degree) in PA. I was wondering what the standard procedure is to be PA certified if you have a NJ license?
- Colleen

You will need to apply for PA licensure when you are ready to practice in that state.

From the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing website: "Nurses licensed outside this state seeking Pennsylvania licensure as an RN or LPN who are requesting licensure by endorsement should contact the State Board of Nursing Office at (717) 783-7142 to request an application.

All of the following information must be provided:
name of applicant
current mailing address
phone number
dentify if request is for RN or LPN licensure
the name and location of the basic nursing education program completed and the type of program (RN/LPN)
where applicant was originally licensed by examination (state/country)
name of exam taken to be licensed (if name of exam unknown, provide year examined for licensure)
current licensure (state/country)
An application will be mailed to you when this information is received. You will be contacted by phone if there are questions regarding any of the information provided."

Hope this information helps!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Declining Enrollment

I am looking for data that shows how many college students and how many men do or do not go into nursing and why? Is low salary a barrier to students (both male and female) choosing nursing as a career?
- Carol

For detailed data regarding the make-up of the national nursing student body, take a look at the National Sample Survey of RNs conducted by the Human Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Health Professions, Division of Nursing.

Here's a good article regarding causes of nursing school enrollment decline in general, which may give you some insights about why individuals are not choosing nursing: Nursing School Enrollment Continues to Decline as Demand for RNs Continues to Climb American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Another resource you can try is the American Assembly for Men in Nursing's Forum - participants may be able to point you to additional data. Hope this helps!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 ADON Certification

Where would I find title certification information for an ADON in long term care on the net?
- Danielle

Try the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care - they offer ADON certification. Hope this helps!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum


Hello! I'm a surgical Venezuelan nurse who wants to work and study in the USA. I know I need a licence in order to be in law but I don't know what to do. Could you help me please? Thanks in advance.
- Joli

Here is a great website that outlines the steps you need to take to becomed licensed in the U.S. (midway down the page is information on CGFNS certification, visas and state licensure). It also includes additional resource links at the end of the page: Nursing in the US

Best wishes to you!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Distance Learning

I am currently an LPN and I am thinking about going for my RN. I have heard about the home courses. What have you heard about these courses? Is it a good option for LPN advancement?
- Jeannie

I know several people who are currently studying for their BSN through distance learning.  From what I have heard, the programs are very challenging academically and pretty expensive, too.  However, if you need flexibility in scheduling your studies, or are not able to take courses on campus, distance learning is a viable choice for getting your RN.  The most popular distance learning institution for BSN-seekers is Excelsior College (formerly Regents).

Now for my quick list of things to watch out for in distance learning as it pertains to nursing degrees:
1.  Make sure whatever program you select is accredited by the National League of Nursing's Accreditation Committee or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
2.  Make sure your home state recognizes degrees through this program.  For example, a few states do not recognize Excelsior graduates, and you would not be eligible for licensure.
3.  Make sure you can commit to the program.  Self-directed learning can be difficult for some - it requires above-average motivation and self-discipline.  Also, some students find they do not like the lack of classroom interaction (although many courses have "virtual" class meetings).

That said, I do think distance learning options have opened a lot of doors for folks who would not otherwise be able to complete their degree.  Working professionals and those with family responsibilities, in particular, benefit from being able to study and participate at times convenient to their schedules.  Academically, the coursework is every bit as comprehensive as traditional programs, and federal financial aid is available.

I say research your options, and go for it!

A side note to other readers:  Distance learning is becoming more and more popular for degree-seeking adults who need flexibility.  However, due to the extensive clinical experience integral to the learning process in nursing programs, there are no distance learning options for students new to the healthcare field.  What few programs are available have strict entrance guidelines requiring documentation of significant prior clinical healthcare experience.  Eligible students would be those who already have experience as practicing LPNs, EMTs, paramedics, respiratory therapists, etc.

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 CPR Certification

I have to get CPR certified before I start my clinicals. I have tried Red Cross, Heart Assoc, places in my town and it seems, no one has anything available before I start classes August 21st. Help! Thanks.
- Melanie

I tried to reply to you directly via e-mail right away, but AOL won't deliver my mail to you...I hope you see this here.

Have you tried local hospitals and community colleges? Both offer basic CPR in my area - the hospitals once a month, the community colleges about every other weekend. Where do you live? There has to be something between now and mid-August, somewhere in your area. I would be happy to do an online hunt for you - just let me know!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Excelsior College

I am a current EMT student but would like to receive my RN degree. I received literature from Moore publications (Regent or Excelsior College) regarding home study for RN degree. Do you have information on home study courses for nursing? I would like to pursue my Family Nurse Practitioner license. Would like input on ways of making the path to these degrees shorter.
- Toine

The unique nature of nursing education makes it impossible for accredited programs to offer online degree programs to students new to the healthcare field. This is because clinical learning experiences are an integral part of the learning process. In truth, there just aren't any distance learning options for entry-level students.

The advantage to distance learning is flexibility - you can study around your work/family schedule, and are not constrained by physical class meeting times. The downside is that distance learning is generally much more expensive, the coursework is very difficult, and you have to have an extremely high level of motivation to complete the program. Also, if you are considering Excelsior College specifically, make sure your state board of nursing will recognize an Excelsior degree to satisfy the educational component required to sit the NCLEX licensing exam.

I think it's fantastic that you plan to become a Family Nurse Practioner! It's a long road, but the end result is definitely worth it. As a final note, you may want to check into bridge programs offered at colleges in your area. These accelerated degree programs can help speed up the time it takes to complete your education. For example, if you study for a year to become an LPN, you can then enter an LPN to RN bridge program. 2-year RNs now have the option of going straight into an RN to MSN bridge program. Just some more options for you to think about :)

Best wishes to you!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Cardiac Rehab Nursing

I am planning on being a Cardiac Rehab Nurse doing the stress tests, etc. Is this type of area considered critical care? What is the average salary and requirments for this type of position?
- Jennifer

A cardiac rehab nurse has advanced training in cardiac life support and cardiac rehabilitation. While their practice is not limited to critical care, it certainly can include such. Their role in the cardiac rehab process is to devise an individualized plan of progressive activity during and after the hospitalization of those who have a cardiac illness, and to closely monitor heart activity by use of telemetry equipment. They also educate the patient and family about the disease process, recovery, nutrition and risk factor modification.

An excellent two-part article that appeared in the April and May, 1998 issues of NurseBeat Magazine is A Day In The Life of A Cardiac Rehab Nurse. It follows the activities of a cardiac rehab nurse on the job and will give you a good idea of the clinical aspects of the job.

There are a variety of certifications you can pursue if you wish to specialize in cardiac rehab nursing. ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) certification is typically required of all cardiac rehab nurses. Additionally, you can obtain CRRN certification (certified rehabilitation registered nurse) through the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, and the ANCC offers clinical nurse specialist certification as a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse.

The average salary for cardiac rehab nurses nationally is $42,104 per year. Experienced cardiac rehab nurses with advanced training and certifications can expect to make between $65,000 and $75,000 per year.

I hope this information helps, Jenn!  Cardiac rehab nursing is a great area to go into.

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Is Nursing A Profession?

Hope you can help - we are doing a group project on the subject, "Is nursing a profession?." Two of us have been out of school for many years and are having trouble putting together a project that we feel is up to university standards. We have started the project on the history of nursing and basic theories. Are we on the right track? Please help with any suggestions...
- Ann, Sally and Lucy

I think you all are off to a great start! First, I will pass on a couple of resources that may help as you further develop your project:

This is a lecture outline for a presentation on the profession of nursing. It includes traditional and modern definitions of nursing, a historical perspective, why nursing failed to become a profession and the characteristics of a profession.

This is an online slide show presentation about the profession of nursing - definition, traits of a profession, etc.

Now for my opinion. Is nursing a profession? I certainly believe so. However (warning: soapbox speech), there is one thing that seems to set nurses apart from other healthcare professionals. Nurses do not bill for their hours. If you think about any other highly skilled healthcare professionals - MDs, OTs, PTs, STs, radiologists, etc., they all bill for services rendered. Nurses, on the other hand, are paid out of the administrative budget, along with maintenance costs, supplies, food for the cafeteria - you get the picture. When costs need to be reduced, nurse salaries or staffing are often part of the solution. This is a big issue for me. Now, *some* nurses do bill - think home health nurses and advanced practice nurses. But hospital, office and LTC nurses do not. This just doesn't make sense to me, and I can't help but to think this sets us apart from our healthcare peers and detracts from the valid perception of nursing as a profession. Just another point of view to consider.

Best of luck to you all on this project - I wish you the greatest success in school! If you need help finding additional resources, please let me know.

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 NCLEX Results - Website or Phone Number?

Hi, I just took the NCLEX-RN.   What is the quickest way for me to find out my results? I hear there is a web site or phone number??? Please help! I am so anxious! Thanks!
- Christy S.

There is no website that will give you this information, despite many rumors to the contrary.  However, you are correct about the phone number you can call.  It is called NCLEX Results By Phone.  It is run by the NCLEX  folks and will give you the unofficial results of your test.  Keep in mind that it is a 900 number and there is a flat rate charge of $7.95 per call. You must wait three business days after taking the exam to call for the unofficial results. To get your unofficial results call 900-225-6000. There are easy to follow instructions once the call has been made, but technical support can also be found by calling 800-551-1912.

Unfortunately, only 17 states currently participate in this program.  They are:
Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas,  Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia (PN  only), Wisconsin
If you did not take the test in one of these states, you cannot get your unofficial results using NCLEX Results By Phone.

Another option is to see if your state board of nursing has an automated license verification phone line.  If so, you can call to see if you are licensed yet.  Some state boards of nursing have license verification online through their websites, as well.  The thing to remember is that this will only tell you if you passed.  If you are not listed in the system, it could either mean you did not pass or the state board has not received the information yet.

Whatever you do, do not call you your state board of nursing's regular phone line and ask for your results.  Even if they have received your results, they are not allowed to give out this information over the phone.

Hope this information helps - I know the waiting is the worst part.

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Male RNs?

I have a two in one question. First, I'm planning on becoming an RN and I'm wondering what is the percentage of male RN's as opposed to female RN's? Second, what are some of the different areas you can go into through nursing?
- Colt

Right now, about 10% of all RNs are males. The number of male RNs has been steadily climbing over the last decade, and will continue to grow as the nursing profession seeks ways to diversify.

Regarding the different areas nurses can go into, there are more choices than I can list.  Nursing is truly a profession with enormous options.

Any area of medicine you can think of has nurse specialists - here's a sample: pediatrics, critical care, emergency, OR, gerontology, psychiatric, hospice, renal, oncology, immunology, neurology, family practice, forensics, flight nursing, sports medicine, legal nurse consultants, nursing informatics, nurse executives, community health nurses, nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists - the list goes on and on.  The sky's the limit!  No matter what you interests are, nursing has a niche for you!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 Too Much Income

I am starting LPN classes in the fall. I am so excited but, I am not sure how I'm going to pay for it. I did not recieve financial aid, I was just over the borderline. I was wondering if you now of any great funding for someone who is married with three children? Please help!
- Dana

You did not indicate which state you are from, or what program you are enrolled in, but the first thing you should do is talk to the financial aid advisor at your school.  They will be able to give you information on non-need-based scholarships you may qualify for, as well as identify loan programs you may be eligible for.  It's a tough situation when your income exceeds the federal guidelines for aid, but not impossible.  Some LPN programs offer their own financing, to spread out the costs over time so it is not quite so unmanageable.  This may also be a good option to look into.

If you want to get started hunting now, here's a website that has a massive database of scholarships you can browse:

Hope this information helps, and congratulations on your acceptance to LPN school!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 CNA Training

Hi!  I live in Queens County, New York and was hoping you would know how I can go about becoming a CNA.  Do local hospitals offer a certification class?  And how long would the class run?  Also, are there fees for these classes or is it an on-the-job training?  Thank you so much for your help.  Your site is very helpful and encouraging!  Best of luck to you.
- Barbara

Thank you for the compliment - I am glad you enjoy this site!  Regarding CNA training, hospitals may have certification programs, but you are more likely to find training offered through your local community colleges, vo-tech schools or, in some cases, longterm care facilities.

The fee for a CNA class is fairly reasonable - usually less than the cost of a three credit hour college course.  Here is Kansas City, for example, it costs $125 through the community college (I would expect it to be somewhat higher in New York).  Classes average 4 to 6 weeks in length depending on how often the group meets.  There are usually options for day or evening classes.  Longterm care facilities that offer onsite training may subsidize the cost.

Your best bet is to make a few phone calls to the longterm care facilities in your area to see if they offer job training.  If not, check into programs offered by your local community colleges and vocational training schools.

One more thing to note:  Be sure to ask about prerequisites - most CNA training programs require health screens for TB and current CPR certification.  You can get the TB test at your doctor's office or local public health clinic, and CPR certification classes are offered through the Red Cross.  CPR classes are often offered on weekends and can be completed in a half or full day session.

Good luck to you, Barbara!

- Stephanie Thibeault
The Student Nurse Forum

 A Day In The Life Of A Nurse Anesthestist?

I am only a few months away from being an RN. I am very interested in going back to get my masters in nurse anesthesia. I've done some research on the web and found lots of info but not exactly what I'm looking for. I wanted a site that was a little more specific about the day to day life of a student nurse anesthetist. I found lots of site like this for doctors such as medstudent diaries. Any such sites out there for the student nurse anesthetist?
- Tanya

I did some research on the web and came up empty handed as far as websites with a diary or "day-in-the-life" of nurse anesthetist students.  I did find some e-groups and discussion forums, however - you might want to post some questions to those who have been there already:

Anest-L: Anesthesia List
This anesthesia discussion list originates from SUNY Syracuse. Leave the subject line empty; body of message = "subscribe anest-l (your name)". Andrew M. Sopchak, MD list owner.
ACCRI-L: Anesthesia & Critical Care Resources on the Internet List
This is the e-mail weekly update of Anesthesia and Critical Care Resources on the Internet, an outstanding compendium. The main directory is available on the web at Anesthesia and Critical Care Resources on the Internet. The e-mail is available as a digest (recommended). Nurse Anesthestist Message Board
The message boards on are among the most active I have seen, and they have a message board specifically for nurse anesthetists.

I hope these resources will be helpful to you!
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Need Help With A High School Report On Nursing

I am doing a report on nursing and need to know the following information if you can help me: 1) What kind of degree or certificate is needed to become a nurse? 2) Does it provide for your 401k,stock options,or pention plan for finacial security? 3) What`s the minimum/maximum earning potential? 4) Where will the largest market for this job will be? 5) Description of job courses I will have to take in high school or college? 6)  Would it be in demand and will there be many jobs in the field? I would appreciate this information on becoming a nurse!!  Thank you!
- Shanie

Most of your answers can be found on this website!  Here are the pages on which you will find answers for questions 1, 3, 4, and 6:
Regarding question #2, in most cases this is true - but it all depends on your employer.  Large health organizations and hospitals will have more funds to offer expanded employee benefits than smaller or non-profit healthcare providers.

If you are planning to become a nurse, you should take some basic science courses in high school (anatomy, biology, chemistry), as well as an algebra course.  Once in college, the course requirements will vary based on the program; however most nursing programs require chemistry, anatomy, physiology, biology and college algebra.  Other requirements may include various psychology, english, advanced math and science courses, in addition to core nursing classes.  The community colleges and universities in your area will be able to give you an overview of local requirements and program specifics.

Good luck on your report!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 LPN Scholarships & Financial Aid

I am looking for scholarships and financial aid for nursing. I will be attending an LPN course starting in August and have been looking for financial aid. Thanks!
- Joy
The first place to start is your college's financial aid office.  They will have information on scholarships they offer, as well as grants you may be eligible for.  For additional ideas and links, go to the Financial Aid and Scholarships pages on this site.  Both have good resources to help you locate assistance in funding your program.  Hope this information helps - best of luck in your LPN program this fall!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Starting Salaries For RNs

I'm doing a report on registered nurses and some day would like to become one... but these are some question I would like to ask... What is the expected salary right after college?...What is the expected salary with 5 years' experience after college? Can you send a response to my question within one day please.. it is due 3-30-01
- Npib

Luckily I caught your e-mail just before going to bed last night.  Since your question was fairly straightforward, I was able to find an answer for you pretty quickly.  I try to be speedy, but a one-day turnaround for answers is usually not possible (I'm a student with homework too, you know! *g*).

The starting salary for RNs will vary depending on your location and the needs of the community; however, the average starting salary nationally is between $29,692 and $36,000 a year. To figure out how much one could expect to make after 5 years in the field, add a 4% increase per year.

Sources: (1997 article, but good information)

Hope this information helps!
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Which Colleges Are The Best?

Hello!  I'm still in high school and I don't graduate until 2002.  I'm interested in being a nurse but I'm not quit sure what type. Maybe RN or LPN. Which colleges do you think will be the best start for RN or LPN? And how could I get a scholarship through those colleges? Thank you!
- Desiree

That's wonderful that you are already considering your continued education and career options!  Nursing is a diverse, rewarding profession that offers many choices.

You did not mention where you are from, however a good place to start looking for nursing programs is The American Association of Colleges of Nursing - you will want to find a nursing program that is fully accredited.  Most community colleges and some vocationals schools offer an LPN program.  Additionally, the community colleges offer Associate's Degree programs in nursing that qualify you to take the NCLEX-RN (the national RN licensing exam).  Your local colleges and universities will offer the 4-years Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree, which also qualifies you to take the NCLEX.
For more information about LPNs and RNs, follow these two links:

Almost all of these nursing programs will have some kind of scholarship you can apply for - check with their Financial Aid office.  As you research your options, you will find there are many grants, scholarships and loan programs available to help finance your education.  Click here for more information: Financial Aid
For information on some federal and state scholarships, as well as tuition-for-service programs, click here: Scholarships

Which nursing program you choose will depend on many personal factors.  Some things to take into consideration can be found here: Planning Your Path

One final piece of advice - spend some time volunteering or working as a nurse's aid in a hospital or nursing home.  This will give you a feel for the work environment and will expose you first-hand to the kinds of things nurses do.  You want to make sure, before you spend 4 years going to school, that you will enjoy nursing and that it will be personally satisfying to you.

Best of luck in your continued education!
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Looking For Student Nurse Internship

I am a final year student nurse that is studying in England. I am intersted in doing my elective later this year in New York, NY. I'd like to know if I would have to get a nurse's license.  If so, how do I go about getting one?  If possible I'd like a list of hospitals in New York, NY that accepts foreign student nurses to do their elective.
- Keisha

I believe you are looking to do a student nurse internship. There are two ways I might suggest you do this:

1.  Contact a nursing school in the NYC area and request a student exchange. Look for schools that have students residing on campus.
2.  Contact the hospitals in the area to see if they are available for student internships.

In either case you would not need a license. I teach in the New York City area. If you would like to discuss some of your choices, feel free to email me.
Patricia Bennett, RN, MS, Assistant Professor
Molloy College , Rockville Centre, NY
Health Information, Tutorial Services, Career/Life Consulting Services

 Psychiatric Nursing

I am writing a research paper for one of my nursing classes. My topic is psychiatric nurses. What I need to know is the good and the bad aspects from someone out in the field. I have found lots of information on education and job description, but not on a personal level with the actual job. Thank you for your time in helping me.
- Charlotte

I ran a couple of different searches online, but I have to say I am not completely happy with the results. These articles will give you personal insight on the profession and have good information you can draw on for your report, but all the same, they are not quite what I think you had in mind:

Psychiatric Nursing Related Papers (great resource with links to personal stories)
Reality Check
Dispelling the Stigma Around Mental Health
The Role of the Psychiatric Nurse

One more suggestion for you - browse the message boards on All in their Psychiatric Nursing forum - you will find good info there and can also post a request for personal insights into the profession.  Here's the direct link:

I hope this information helps - good luck!
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Balancing School & Family

I've been married for 4 years, and I am 22 years old. When I finished high school, I didn't realize how important college was, and my parents talked me into be a hair stylist, which I've been doing for 4 years, plus waitressing at night. I'm now ready to do something more with my life, I'm really interested in studing to be a nurse anesthetist. I've already looked up information on schooling and requirements, and I start college part time in June, then I'll go full time in the fall. The only requirement from my husband is to spend at least one or two nights at home with him for quality time. That's understandable but with school, and trying to maintain a household, will I become over stressed? Another question, after the many years of school and work and I'm a CRNA, will I be working so many hours I still won't have time for my husband?  Luckily I don't have kids. Now I'm only home 2 nights a week, between my jobs I'm working 60 hours a week. I don't mind hard work, but I mainly want to have a career, but still have time for my husband.
- Dawn

Congratulations on your decision to become a nurse anesthetist - its a very rewarding career from which you will gain much personal and professional satisfaction!

Will you be able to make time for your husband while in school?  Yes, of course!  While nursing school is challenging and will consume much of your time, it will not take over your life.  The best way to accomplish your goals while still retaining quality time for nuturing your marriage is to go in with your eyes open and with a plan of action.  Develop a time management strategy and set boundaries so you are not overwhelmed with school.  Being organized cannot be underestimated.  Talk with your husband and decide on one or two nights a week that will be non-school nights.  It will be helpful if you can both be flexible about at least one of these nights, in case of exams, etc.  It's a balancing act, but it CAN be done, and its worth it in the end.  It will be important during the school phase for your husband to be supportive of you - work together!

Once you have completed your schooling, your time will be much more flexible - so, yes, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Nurses today have many scheduling options.  Depending on where you choose to work, there are the traditional shifts (7am - 3 pm will leave your nights free), PRN work (you decide what days you want to work),  and many hospitals offer flex-plans (3-12 hour shifts followed by 4 days off, etc.).  You will have many options to suit your needs.

Please see the next question from Sonia for links to some great sites with learning strategies and time management tips.  Best of luck to you, Dawn, as you follow your dreams!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Learning Strategies

I am looking for information on learning to learn - for student nurses. Thank you.

Here are some great websites with excellent information on study skills, learning styles, note taking, active learning and varisou strategies and methods a nursing student can use to succeed in school:

Your Personal Learning Style Preferences

Learning Strategies Database

Study Skills Self-Help Information

Study Skills Links (tons of links to helpful sites!)

I hope this information is helpful - good luck in your studies, Sonia!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 NHS & The Beveridge Report

I was looking for information on the Beveridge report and its connection with NHS and present social & healthcare programs.  I look forward to your guidance in this regard. Thank you.

The first call for a National Health Service in the U.K. is usually attributed to Beatrice Webb, who argued the case for a state medical service in a submission to the Royal Commission on the Poor Law in 1909. Over the next 30 years the case for reform was taken up and developed in a succession of reports from the Ministry of Health, the British Medical Association and others, culminating in the ground-breaking Beveridge report of 1942.

Sir William Beveridge had been appointed by the Government to chair an inter-departmental committee to look into the existing National Insurance schemes. He made no detailed recommendations about how a National Health Service should be run, but by identifying health care as one of the three basic prerequisites for a viable social security system, he laid the foundations for the NHS as it is known today.

Here are some resources for you about the Beveridge report and the NHS:

The NHS Story

The Birth of the National Health Service

The Beveridge Report

I hope this information is helpful !
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Pediatric Nursing

I really enjoy this site and all of the things it has to offer. The only thing that I am still looking for are more detailed descriptions of the areas of nursing. For example, pediatrics and what it entails, certifications, stress levels, etc. No one really tell you those things until you are thrown into them. Thanks!
- Melanie

Thanks so much for your kind comments about this site - glad you like it!  I plan to add information on different specialty areas once the spring semester has ended.  In the meantime, I found some really great resources for you about pediatric specialties:

Pediatric Nursing FAQs (wonderful Q&A with the inside scoop!)
Careers In Nursing:  Pediatric Nurse (education requirements, salaries, functions, etc.)
Standards and Guidelines for Pre-Licensure and Early Professional Education for the Nursing Care of Children and Their Families (good background information)
Requirements for Certification as a CPN (Certified Pediatric Nurse)
Hans Schulte works at a Level III intensive care unit for neonatal and pediatric patients and he has a great personal web page about pediatric nursing. Click on the link for nursing students at the top of his home page for job descriptions, starting salaries and educational requirements.

There is a special place in heaven for pediatric nurses - I hope this information helps and wish you all the success in the world!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Sociological Theory & Epidemiological Studies

I have an assignment to do on sociological theory and epidemiological studies - discuss how membership of a social group can have a positive or negative impact on a person's health. Can you help me with some good books or suggestions please?
- James

The following is a list of resources to get you started.  The first listing is an article that will give you a good overview for critically evaluating the validity of statistical correlations.  I have also included three articles related to the social epidemiology of specific diseases and two journal publications which should provide additional information for your report:

How to Understand Scientific Studies and Epidemiology
The Case of Medical Sociology in the United States, 1950s-1980s
Centers for Disease Control:  Social Epidemiology & The Implications for Community HIV Prevention
CDC Releases First Cervical Cancer Detection Rates by Race and Ethnicity
Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
The International Journal of Epidemiology

I hope the above information is helpful - this is a great topic for research!

Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

 Collective Bargaining/Unions

Hi! I'm a nursing student getting ready to graduate. I have a paper due on collective bargaining/unions. Pros,cons, and how they affect nurses, patient care, etc.  I've been searching the web but have been unable to find answers to my questions.  Can you give me any advice? Thanks.

I found some articles for you - I tried to pull a balanced mix of arguments for and against nursing unions.  Hope this information helps (and congratulations on your coming graduation!!).

Unions and Nursing: A Good Mix?
Overworked and Underpaid:  Unions Change Nursing History
Workplace Issues:  Organizing and Collective Bargaining
Unions Find Many Nurses Eager to Join
The New Hands-Off Nursing
Why I Won't Walk:  How Unions Undermine Patient Care
Unions Are The Best Medicine for Health Care
Stephanie Thibeault, The Student Nurse Forum

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