Health Careers Journal

Taking a Nursing Career To The Next Level


The popularity of the Master of Science in Nursing program has seen a tremendous spike in the last decade. As more nurses enter the field, that means that just as many eventually choose to pursue a master’s in the field. It’s a logical option, as obtaining the degree allows graduates to pursue positions either in education or management.

Given the hectic schedules that most nurses must already accommodate, an online degree program tends to make the most sense when it comes to fitting in with their lifestyle. Fortunately, the tremendous growth in this program’s popularity ensures that there’s no shortage of online options. Here we’ve ranked the ten best online programs for obtaining a master’s in nursing. All of these institutions are ranked highly by neutral sources, and many have a glowing reputation within the medical community.

1. John Hopkins University
Cost – $33,168 per year

2. Loyola University New Orleans
Cost – $744 per credit

3. Duke University
Cost – $1,358 per credit

4. Drexel University
Cost – $800 per credit

5. Georgetown University
Cost – $21,000-$36,000 per year for full-time studies

6. Clarkson College
Cost – $437 per credit

7. University of Texas-Tyler
Cost – $338.23 per credit for TX residents; $689 per credit for non-residents

8. University of Colorado Denver
Cost – $355 per credit

9. University of Florida
Cost – $11,954 per year for residents; $29,347 per year for non-residents

10. Delta State University
Cost – $2,862 per semester for residents; $4,548 per semester for non-residents


February 26, 2013   No Comments

Dangers of Modern Medicine


In March of 2012, 17-year old high school student Mariah Edwards entered a local surgical center for a tonsillectomy, a procedure performed by physicians for decades. Philadelphia’s WPVI reports that what should have been an uneventful stay turned into an unimaginable nightmare for the family when the young girl died. With the ever increasing advancements in knowledge and technology occurring in the medical field, many procedures now occur on an outpatient basis. However, while modernization increases, statistics indicate that the quality of care patients receive remains on a steady decline.

A surgeon performed Edward’s tonsillectomy in under an hour without encountering complications. Medical staff informed the relieved family. Medical staff transferred the girl to the facility recovery room. Attached to an array of monitors designed to continually assess a patient’s status and alarm staff when that status changes, the girl lay unconscious from the effects of anesthesia and a powerful narcotic pain medication. At some point during her expected recovery, Edward’s respiratory rate and vital signs began declining. Personnel staffing the recovery area did not respond to the emergency situation because sometime after Edward’s admittance, a nurse pulled the curtain around the girl’s bed and muted the alarms on the monitors. Staff admitted not checking the status of the patient for a period of 25 minutes.

Hospital Errors Cause Alarmingly High Number of Fatalities
In the aftermath of this tragedy, the medical facility implemented a policy ensuring a higher degree of patient care that included prohibiting staff from silencing monitors. A negligence lawsuit remains pending. According to a report published by the Institute of Medicine , between 44,000 and 98,000 patients die annually in America’s hospitals because of human error. These numbers do not take into account the number of fatalities occurring in outpatient clinics, outpatient surgery centers, dental offices, nursing homes or other patient care facilities. The report goes on to declare that medical error related fatalities outnumber deaths incurred secondary to motor vehicle accidents and terminal disease conditions.

Equally alarming is the fact that when evaluating individual states, the Institute of Medicine claims that medical errors contributed to more than 50 percent of fatalities occurring in hospitals in some regions. The organization notes a number of factors contributing to these statistics including communication errors, diagnostic errors, human errors and manufacturing errors. The medical community prefers not taking punitive measures against employees responsible for committing errors for fear of creating an environment void of transparency or a willingness to openly confess mistakes.

Considerations for Improvement
The Institute of Medicine and the Quality Interagency Coordination Task Force propose that standardizing medical equipment and incorporating safeguards decreases the risk of error. Other recommendations include improving work environments for medical personnel by limiting shift hours or preventing understaffing. Facilities must also implement methods and technologies that reduce errors concerning medications or documentation. The organizations also hope to develop a national error reporting database that increases the quality of care by performing routine analysis of situations. From studying individual or multiple scenarios, new methods of prevention may develop. The IOM and the QuIC task force also suggest that patients take a more active approach in their health care.

February 26, 2013   No Comments

Breaking Into an Emerging Field With an Emergency Management Degree


Emergency management is a relatively new field being offered by universities. It doesn’t offer the same historical security as an MBA or JD, but it prepares students for careers in a field that is both exciting and challenging to be in. Students learn the concepts behind emergency preparedness and planning, giving them the knowledge that they need to be successful in a number of roles. Anyone interested in an emergency-related career, such as an emergency program manager or director of security, would be wise to take a look at earning a degree in emergency management.

As the program is one that’s still relatively young, the schools ranked here were judged mostly on their accreditation as well as reputation. Every school listed has regional accreditation, and most of them are already well-established universities with solid ties to employers. As is often the case with newer degree programs, earning one from a school with a strong reputation for academics is a safe route to take. Continue reading below for a look at the top 10 online emergency management degrees as well as their cost.

1. University of North Carolina Online-Western Carolina University
Bachelor of Science in Emergency and Disaster Management
Cost – $133.78 per credit for residents; $458.01 per credit for non-residents

2. Colorado State University-Global Campus
Emergency Management Specialization
Cost – $350 per credit

3. Jacksonville State University
Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management with a Homeland Security Minor
Cost – $265 per credit

4. Drexel University
Online Certificate in Emergency Management
Cost – $680 per credit

5. SUNY (State University of New York) Canton
Bachelor of Technology in Emergency Management
Cost – $5,570 per year for residents; $14,820 per year for non-residents

6. University of Central Missouri
Bachelor of Science in Crisis and Disaster Management
Cost – $209.70 per credit for residents; $419.20 per credit for non-residents

7. West Texas A&M University
Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Emergency Management Administration
Cost – $3,405 per semester for residents; $3,855 per semester for non-residents

8. Arkansas Tech University
Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management
Cost – $187 per credit for residents; $374 per credit for non-residents

9. University of Alaska-Fairbanks
Bachelor of Emergency Management
Cost – $165 per credit for residents; $383 per credit for non-residents

10. National Labor College
Bachelor of Science in Emergency Readiness and Response Management
Cost – $270-$480 per credit

Source: Top 10 Best Online Emergency Management Degree Programs

February 21, 2013   No Comments

Is Your State Prepared for a Disaster?


The devastating impact Hurricane Sandy had on the Northeast raised national concern about our country’s infrastructure. According to USA Today, a non-profit organization called the Trust For America’s Health released its annual study evaluating all 50 states and Washington D.C. for their preparedness for public disasters such as massive storms, viral epidemics, civilian acts of violence and bioterrorism. The study’s findings were not good.

How the States Stack Up

North Carolina, Maryland, Vermont, Wisconsin and Mississippi met eight of the ten standards on which the study based its evaluation. Thirty-five other states and the District of Columbia only met six requirements, and Kansas and Montana tied for last place by meeting three.

The study used the following criteria to measure disaster preparedness:

  • Funding for public health
  • Capability to handle bioterrorist attacks
  • Capability to handle catastrophic weather
  • Adequate staffing to accommodate the containment of an infectious disease epidemic
  • Official recognition by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program
  • Comprehensive plans for evacuating children from schools in the event of emergencies like fires or armed intruders
  • Availability of influenza vaccination to the poor
  • Reciprocity of nursing licenses with other states
  • Vaccination of children against whooping cough
  • Ability to quickly inform healthcare workers of public health emergencies

Half of all states do not recognize nursing licenses issued in other states, which poses a massive problem when outside help is needed in the form of first responders. Only 15 states have concrete plans for dealing with natural disasters while 37 are prepared for disease outbreaks. Three fifths of all states have plans to deal with gun violence on school grounds, and more than a fifth of states require medicaid patients to pay for the flu shot. Only two states, Hawaii and Nebraska, met the target whooping cough vaccination rate of 90 percent. Unfortunately, Hawaii scored lowest on the criteria of promptness; the Trust study claims that communicating an emergency message to every healthcare center on the islands currently takes more than three hours. The vast majority of states were able to do so in less than an hour.

The Trust aggregated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as other sources. In their analysis, the authors cite budget cuts in the public health sector as the primary culprit of poor emergency preparedness. Federal assistance for state preparedness has plummeted a whopping 38 perfect since 2005. Additionally, about half of the states have decreased public health spending since 2010, and the states that have kept their budgets stagnant are unable to keep up with inflation. As a result, 20 percent of healthcare positions have been eliminated in recent years.

The most recent publication by the Trust is entitled “A Healthier America 2013: Strategies to Move from Sick Care to Health Care in Four Years.” The report outlines suggestions to improve the quality of the American healthcare system and ensure its economic sustainability.

February 21, 2013   No Comments

Which Online Healthcare Admin Programs Let Grads Stand Out?


Degrees in healthcare administration have been rising in popularity as of late. The allure is obvious, as the healthcare field offers virtually none of the susceptibility to recession that’s seen in other fields. While earning a healthcare administration degree, students can gain knowledge on the inner workings of the healthcare field as well as what the business side of it is like. There are two types of people that this degree might appeal to: Those who are already in a health-related area and want to gain more knowledge on the administrative aspects of the field, and those who are already in the business world but want to transition to healthcare.

When ranking the top programs for this list, schools were graded on how well their graduates were able to transition into a healthcare career. Every school reviewed has received regional accreditation and is seen by employers as valuable for producing graduates who are prepared to enter the field and hit the ground running. Below, we’ve listed the top ten programs for earning a healthcare administration degree online.

1. University of Minnesota-Crookston: Bachelor of Science in Health Management
Cost – $430.77 per credit hour plus a $45 per credit fee

2. Colorado State University-Global Campus: Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration and Management
Cost – $350 per credit

3. Drexel University: Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration
Cost – $690 per credit

4. Northeastern University: Bachelor of Science in Health Management
Cost – $335 per credit

5. Bellevue University: Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management
Cost – $370 per credit

6. Liberty University: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration-Healthcare Management
Cost – $365 per credit

7. New England College: Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration
Cost – $31,394 per year

8. Grand Canyon University: Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration
Cost – $465 per credit

9. Hodges University: Bachelor of Science in Health Administration
Cost – $490 per credit

10. Strayer University: Bachelor of Business Administration-Healthcare Administration
Cost – $1,700 per course

Source: Top 10 Best Online Healthcare Administration Degree Programs

February 18, 2013   No Comments

When it Comes to Hospice Care, Timing is Everything


Hospice care is a service provided for patients nearing the end of their lives. Its goal is to help people feel the most comfortable during the final weeks of their lives, and to provide support services for families and caregivers during that time. As described on the Elder Care page of the Department of Health and Human Service’s web site, the decision to utilize hospice care is highly personal for both the patient and the family, and there are many factors to consider, from physical and emotional concerns, to financial and even spiritual matters.

A Study on Hospice Care

WebMD describes a recent study done on hospice care and how it’s been used over the last several years. The study included information about duration of hospice use and how it was used in conjunction with visits to the ICU. The study concluded that the length of time hospice services are in use has declined drastically over the last several years. With the shorter time in hospice care, the positive and beneficial impact on the patients and their families is minimal.

The study also showed that between 2000 and 2009 fewer people died in the hospital, but the use of the ICU during the same time period increased in the last month of life. The use of hospice also increased during the same time period. Although the use of hospice care increased overall, 28.4% of the hospice care used was for no more than three days. 40% of those cases followed directly after a stay in an ICU.

Reasons For the Decline

There seem to be many contributing factors in play here. One of them is that people are only considering hospice care as a last resort, and this usually happens too late. Doctors are not paid to sit down and discuss these services with their patients, so they don’t often do so unless they are approached about it directly. When families and patients are better informed about hospice and learn about it further in advance, they tend to have more time to acquire the services faster and benefit more from the psycho-social support that is offered to them.

Another reason that people are only receiving hospice care for short amounts of time might be because of a sudden decline in their health. They might lack the time to prepare for hospice services. Additionally, the fact that it is much harder to get hospice care than it is to stay at a hospital or in the ICU may also play a role in patients and families putting off its use. Filling out 25 pages of forms is much harder than being admitted to the ICU.

There are things that can be done to make it easier for people to get the hospice care they need when it will benefit them the most. Some of these things include informing patients about hospice services earlier, and making it easier to acquire them. This can have a positive and far reaching impact on the patients and their families.

February 18, 2013   No Comments

Top Ten: The Best Online Masters Degrees for Nursing


For the majority of professionals already in the nursing field, some level of formal education has already been achieved. Typically, practicing nurses hold an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Despite the demanding rigors undergraduate programs place on their students, many decide to pursue higher levels of educational standards. A masters degree in nursing is the next step these individuals seek.

Master’s programs are primarily designed for aspiring educators who will go on to instruct both new students and professional peers. Coursework generally incorporates special education from the National League for Nursing (NLN) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). These courses are often competency-based programs, providing the skills necessary to teach in many environments such as hospitals, schools, businesses, and community clinics. They also emphasize assessment, evaluation, measurement, dealing with various styles of learning, and creating unique curricula.

The following list features the Top Ten rankings for online masters degrees in nursing. Each school was thoroughly reviewed and highly regarded by respected publications as well as leaders in the medical community. These respected schools boast top rankings on U.S. News and World Report’s online education honor roll, multiple specialization options, renowned faculty and staff and a number of other unique characteristics.

1. Johns Hopkins University: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $33,168.00 per year full time

2. Loyola University New Orleans: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $744.00 per credit hour

3. Duke University: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $1,358.00 per credit

4. Drexel University: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $800.00 per credit

5. Clarkson College: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $437 per credit hour

6. University: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: Between $21,000 and $36,000 per year full time

7. University of Texas-Tyler: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: EST. $338.23 per credit at 9 credits, non-residents $689.00 per credit at 9 credits

8. Sacred Heart University: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $600.00 per credit hour

9. University of Florida: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $11,954 per year for residents and $29,347 per year for non-residents

10. University of San Francisco: Master of Science in Nursing
Cost: $1,130.00 per unit

Source: Top 10 Best Online Masters Degree in Nursing Programs

February 14, 2013   No Comments

Thousands of Nursing Jobs Open Up in Chicagoland


A recent article by CBS Chicago reports indicates that the Chicagoland area is experiencing an increasing need for nurses. The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) reports that in Illinois, job demand for registered nurses is expected to grow 16.3 percent for 2020 from employment in 2010. Vocational and licensed practical nurses are expected to see a 9.1 percent growth during the same period.

Basic Supply and Demand

The high demand for nurses is reflected in the availability of jobs. In December 2012, the Economic Information and Analysis Division of IDES found over 5,200 online job postings for registered nurses in Illinois. Several factors contribute to the increase in demand for healthcare workers. The baby boomer generation is now requiring more long term care. The retirement rate among nurses who are from the baby boomer generation is also creating more job openings, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The influx of younger nurses coming into the profession is currently not keeping up with the rate of nurses who are retiring. Currently, nursing is one of the top 25 occupations with the most vacancies in Illinois.

Another factor that is contributing to the increased demand for nurses is the financial pressure hospitals are now feeling. Hospitals are more inclined to release patients as early as possible, which means the patients may require home care or a subsequent stay in a long term care facility. This pattern is creating more job openings for nurses in settings outside of traditional hospitals.

Hospitals Respond

Healthcare providers are also expanding their services in Chicago. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rush University Medical Center is expected to hire 40 to 50 nurse practitioners in 2013 while NorthShore University HealthSystem is expected to expand and augment their service offerings. The expansion of health services by local hospitals should drive the demand for nurses. A concern expressed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is that a nursing shortage could lead to increased stress, which could cause nurses to leave the profession. It is believed that a nursing shortage could eventually negatively impact the quality of care patients receive at a given hospital or other facility.

While nursing is a profession that already requires specialized education, licensing, and training, educational requirements for nurses may increase in the near future. Currently, many nursing jobs require an associate or bachelor degree. However, the Institute of Medicine is working to increase the number of nurses who hold a bachelor degree to 80 percent by the year 2020. As of now, approximately 50 percent of nurses have a bachelor degree. In addition to having a degree, nurses are also required to have a nursing license and to regularly complete continuing education courses to renew their license and keep their skills current. By doing so, nurses are sure to be able to rest secure in job stability if nursing jobs are as readily available as they currently are in the greater Chicago area.

February 14, 2013   No Comments

10 of the Greatest Master of Health Administration Degrees


While there is no doubt that the field of healthcare entails a variety of career and specialty options, it is also an expanding area that will continue to grow up to 16 percent for several years. This field employs professionals such as healthcare administrators, hospital program directors, and nursing supervisors, and they all possess a natural aptitude for both the sciences and the maintenance of community wellness. Master of Health Administration Degrees are acquired by many of those professionals, and they are offered by an array of schools across the country. Even better, most of those schools include an online program for their Master of Health Administration Degree, which can be completed on students’ own schedules over the course of one or two years.

A college or university that possesses a reputation for excellence stands out both academically and professionally. The top online educational facilities that are mentioned below possess long-standing traditions for providing their students with some of the best degree programs available.

Regional, national, and private accreditation ensures potential students that their secondary schools will provide them with the skills and hands-on experiences that they need for success in their field of study. Each of the online Master of Health Administration Degree programs that is described below possesses regional accreditation and/or credentialing through the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

1. School Name: University of Southern California
Tuition Cost: $54,000 for the entire program
Degree Name: Executive Master’s in Health Administration

2. School Name: Northeastern University
Tuition Cost: $1,345 per credit
Degree Name: Master in Business Administration-Healthcare

3. School Name: University of North Carolina
Tuition Cost: $497.98 per credit for residents of North Carolina; $1,229.48 per credit for non-residents
Degree Name: Executive Master of Healthcare Administration

4. School Name: George Washington University
Tuition Cost: $1,420 per credit
Degree Name: Master in Business Administration-Healthcare

5. School Name: Ohio University
Tuition Cost: $654 per credit for residents of Ohio; $673 per credit for non-residents
Degree Name: Master’s in Health Administration

6. School Name: University of Cincinnati
Tuition Cost: $790 per credit
Degree Name: Master of Health Administration

7. School Name: Quinnipiac University
Tuition Cost: $895 per credit
Degree Name: Master in Business Administration-Healthcare Management

8. School Name: Saint Joseph’s University
Tuition Cost: $752 per credit
Degree Name: Master of Science in Health Administration

9. School Name: Saint Francis University
Tuition Cost: $679 per credit
Degree Name: Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

10. School Name: Utica College
Tuition Cost: $625 per credit
Degree Name: Master of Science in Healthcare Administration

Source: Top 10 Best Online Master of Health Administration Degree Programs

January 9, 2013   No Comments

Are Primary Care Physicians a Thing of the Past?


An interesting study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, cited at WebMD, suggests that the US may be facing a shortage of primary care physicians in the near future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 46,740 primary-care physicians employed in 2011. The American College of Physicians indicates the demand for primary care physicians will skyrocket as the population ages, health care needs increase due to increasing number of people becoming insured under the affordable care act, and increasing demand for acute, chronic, and long-term care. Even if the current number of internists remains constant, the ACP indicates, there would not be enough physicians in the future to meet the increased demand.

Medical Students Bowing Out

But the numbers of medical students choosing to become internists is not projected to rise, or even to remain constant. In fact, fewer and fewer physicians are choosing a career in general internal medicine. The first inkling of a shortage was suggested by a 1992 study that reported only about half of the students graduating from a general internal medicine program maintained a practice in general internal medicine. The ACP also cited a subsequent 2010 report that predicted the nation would be short by 45,750 internists by 2020.

A new study conducted by the Mayo clinic presents a comprehensive, if dark picture. Among 17,000 third-year medical students surveyed at the time of their exams, 21.5 percent stated they planned to pursue general internal medicine. Even among those students already enrolled in a general internist program between 2009 to 2011, only 40 percent said they planned to stick with internal medicine. Adding insult to injury, only about 20 percent of those enrolled in a traditional “categorical” program, planned on pursuing internal medicine.

Where Are They Going?

Colin West, MD, PhD, the Mayo study’s chief researcher, speculated on a number of causes for the shortage. West thinks that doctors today are seeking a better work-life balance than what is generally afforded to internists, who must work when their patients are sick, rather than sticking with convenient office hours. Many of the specialty medical practices offer part-time hours, flexible schedules and more control over office-visits hours than does a general internist practice.

Another potential cause is the almighty dollar. A simple economic fact is that doctors pursuing a specialty earn about twice as much as primary-care physicians. The 2011 BLS survey reported a mean annual salary of $189,210 for internists compared to cardiologists, who made $321,080.

One of the hardest to empirically measure but still important factors luring physicians away from a career in internal medicine is cachet. Martha S. Grayson, MD, senior associate dean at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, found in her research that medical students are being enticed by the glamor of specialty medicine. It appears specialists such as neurosurgeons, radiologists and even toxicologists are more highly valued by society than are internists.

January 9, 2013   No Comments