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Tips for advancing your nursing career

Not all people considering the nursing profession as a career realize how highly trained they will need to be and how many years of studying and experience they will need to be able to advance their careers.

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Nursing is a vital part of any medical system, and that applies as much in the US as it does anywhere else in the world. In many countries, nurses are considered to be the backbone of the medical profession and certainly they will provide care and attention that doctors may not have time for. There is no doubt that patient care is much improved because of nurses, but it is a job that requires a lot of patience and does not suit everyone.

Not all people considering the nursing profession as a career realize how highly trained they will need to be and how many years of studying and experience they will need to be able to advance their careers. If you are considering becoming a nurse, here are a few tips to help you achieve the position you would like to reach.

Where to Start

Whatever branch of nursing you are interested in, you will need to have finished high school and it helps if you have had an introduction to the sciences.

Some people are very happy and content being a Certified Nursing Aide (CNA), which involves just eight weeks of training. In some states they are known as a Certified Nursing Assistant, but the jobs they do are identical and can include:

  • Helping patients to dress and undress
  • Feeding patients
  • Emptying bedpans and changing soiled clothing
  • Generally helping to keep patients comfortable
  • Spending time with patients

You need to be a good communicator to be a successful CNA and are likely to work in a hospital or nursing home, although some are employed by private individuals to work in their home environment. CNAs provide basic needs care to patients and often spend more time with them than any other medical practitioner. The average salary for a CAN is $26,000 per annum.

Others would like to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and many nursing schools offer a one-year course if this is the path you want to take. This job involves administering medications, checking vital signs, changing wound dressings, and collecting samples, among many other tasks. The average salary for an LPN is just over $40,000 per annum.

However, if you want to have a lot of choice in different areas of nursing you need to become a Registered Nurse (RN). Becoming an RN will involve getting the qualifications you need, which could be:

  • A diploma from an accredited nursing program
  • An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN)
  • A bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN)

Whether you decide to become a CNA, LPN or RN as the first stage of your career, you will need to be licensed to be allowed to work, and in the case of an RN, will have to pass a licensing exam. Once you are a licensed RN there will be many options of areas of work available to you.

The Next Step

If you have chosen to become an RN, the next thing to consider is what path you want your career to take. An RN works together with other members of the medical team to support the care of patients and this could be in one of many different environments, including:

  • Hospitals, including emergency rooms
  • Clinics and doctors’ offices
  • Community health
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Workplaces
  • Correctional facilities

In fact, anywhere that needs the support of nurses can be a perfect situation for a Registered Nurse. But you may want to take a different direction and perhaps become a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP).

Becoming an FNP

If you want to specialize in family primary healthcare, your next move needs to be further nursing education. You could take one of the RN to FNP online programs which can be completed while you still work. There are other advantages to earning your new qualification online, with just a few of them being:

  • Online courses are usually cheaper, and you do not have huge costs for books and other stationery needs
  • You can work at your own pace at times to suit your lifestyle
  • You do not have to worry about commuting to and from a classroom-based course as you will be able to work from the comfort of your own home
  • Online courses tend to have several start dates throughout the year, so you will not have to wait too long to get started
  • Your location compared to the location of the educational facility is irrelevant as the course will be 100% online

All you need to get started is a reliable digital device and a good internet connection. You will get all the advice and help you need from your tutors online. Many experts think this one to one tuition help suits most students better than being one of many in a classroom.

The Role of an FNP

Before you can decide if the role of an FNP is the way forward, you need to know what the job usually entails. An FNP can act independently of a physician and can:

  • Diagnose medical problems, no matter how serious they are
  • Prescribe treatment and medication
  • Interpret test results
  • Admit patients to hospital, or discharge them
  • Monitor and assist with chronic diseases such as diabetes
  • Refer patients to other health care services such as social services and home care
  • Counsel patients
  • Teach patients preventative healthcare
  • Pregnancy and associated care
  • Immunizations

It is not unusual for an FNP to set up their own practice. As they can treat patients of all ages, often they look after whole families for several years. Generally, they are curious and logical as well as being caring individuals who can be tactful and friendly. If you think this is how you are, taking on the role of an FNP may be for you.

In the US, the demand for this type of nurse is growing year on year and it is expected that this trend will continue. The average salary for an FNP is over $100,000, and it can also be a very rewarding career path to take.

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Trump-appointed judges void Florida bans on conversion therapy for children

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

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Image by Juan Pablo Mascanfroni from Unsplash.com

Two south Florida laws that banned therapists from offering conversion therapy to children struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity were declared as unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.

In the case – Otto et al v City of Boca Raton, Florida et al, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 19-10604 – the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided (in a 2-1 decision) with two therapists who said the laws in the city of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County violated their free speech rights.

American Republican President Donald Trump – the loser in the country’s latest presidential election, and who refuses to concede – appointed the two judges who supported conversion therapy.

According to Circuit Judge Britt Grant, the laws “allow speech that many find concerning – even dangerous,” but the First Amendment “does not allow communities to determine how their neighbors may be counseled about matters of sexual orientation or gender.”

The therapists in the case, Robert Otto and Julie Hamilton, said their clients had “sincerely held religious beliefs conflicting with homosexuality,” and they sought counseling to conform their identities and behaviors with those beliefs.

A study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law noted that 20 American states and Washington, D.C. already ban licensed healthcare professionals from conducting conversion therapy on children. The practice – which aims to change people’s sexual orientations or gender identities – stigmatizes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and is linked to depression, anxiety and suicide.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) also opposes conversion therapy, since the practice often assumes that homosexuality is a mental disorder.

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Health & Wellness

Lesbian, gay, bisexual communities more at-risk for dementia – study

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual — or LGB — people are more vulnerable to one of the fastest-growing health concerns in the country: dementia, according to research from Michigan State University.

“Our study speaks to the unaddressed questions about whether members the LGB community are more likely to develop cognitive impairment at older ages and, if so, what factors contribute to their poorer cognitive health, ” said Ning Hsieh, an assistant professor of sociology at MSU and lead author of the study published in the journal, The Gerontologist.

“We knew that stress and depression are risk factors for many chronic health problems, including cognitive impairment, in later life. LGB people experience more stressful events and have higher rates of depression compared to their heterosexual counterparts,” she said.

Analyzing the elevated cognitive health risks among older members of the LGB community, the study was the first to use a national sample and screening tool to gauge cognitive health disparities between LGB and heterosexual older adults.

Hsieh and MSU colleagues Hui Liu, professor of sociology, and Wen-Hua Lai, a Ph.D. student of sociology — compared cognitive skills of 3,500 LGB and heterosexual adults using a screening tool and questionnaire that tests for six domains. Those areas included temporal orientation; language; visuospatial skills; executive function; attention, concentration and working memory; and short-term memory.

Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment. So making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.

The researchers found that on average, older LGB adults were more likely to fall into categories for mild cognitive impairment or early dementia compared to heterosexual older adults. The team also tested for specific health and social factors — such as physical conditions, mental health conditions, living a healthy lifestyle and social connections — and the only factor related to cognitive differences for sexual minorities was depression.

“Our findings suggest that depression may be one of the important underlying factors leading to cognitive disadvantages for LGB people,” Hsieh said. “They may experience higher rates of depression than their heterosexual peers for many reasons, including not being accepted by parts of society, feeling ashamed of their sexual orientation or trying to hide their romantic relationships and being treated unfairly in school or at work.”

The researchers felt surprised that other factors — such as fewer social connections, drinking or smoking — didn’t have as great of an effect on LGB people’s cognitive function later in life. But, they also recognized the need for additional research to understand how the stressors sexual minorities experience earlier in life can lead to cognitive impairments as they age. Additionally, Hsieh said, they hope that the study’s findings shed light on the need for greater inclusivity for sexual minorities, as it can have an influence on their mental and cognitive well-being.

“Social inequality makes less privileged groups, including sexual minorities, more prone to develop cognitive impairment,” Hsieh said. “Making the society more just and more accepting of diverse sexuality may help prevent dementia and reduce related health care burden on society.”

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Lifestyle & Culture

Learning to live with a health condition

If you wish to learn to live with a health condition, then, how can you? This can be a scary and ever-changing space, and it’s not apparent what the best wisdom is. With our tidbits of guidance below, we hope this time can feel a little less daunting.

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Increased societal awareness regarding the empowerment of minorities, the acceptance of non-heteronormative sexual and gender identities, and the true need for empathy regarding mental health has made strides in these last years. There’s a long way to go, but we’re on the right path.

That said, it’s also true that these problems are hardly an exhaustive list. It’s true to say that many of us can be subject to challenge and hardship in life, and perhaps the one issue that transcends cultures, borders, and classes is that of our health. Anyone can be surprised with a new health condition they must manage, and anyone must try to ensure a worthwhile quality of life as they adapt and adjust to their new responsibilities. Even those of us who are able-bodied should be able to understand that healthy regard for those less fortunate than ourselves is fundamental to a good and caring society.

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

If you wish to learn to live with a health condition, then, how can you? This can be a scary and ever-changing space, and it’s not apparent what the best wisdom is. With our tidbits of guidance below, we hope this time can feel a little less daunting.

Understanding The New Norms

Anyone with a health condition must navigate new norms. For some, this might suggest a chance in diet, a limit regarding how much they can eat, or more. It might be having to discuss with new friends or relatives just what your needs are, and how this might impact your ability to socialize. Moreover, it means researching into your condition and the careful handling of it. For instance, learning about how to increase the life of your hearing aid can ensure you’re cared for for longer, which, as things go, will help you feel more cared for.

Taking Responsibility

It’s important to take responsibility for your condition – to the extent that you can. This doesn’t mean that it was ‘your fault,’ or anything so horrible, rather that it’s important to know you have to make the best of it, and to stay grateful regardless. That’s easy for us to say as we can’t know the extent to which your life has changed in this way, but we can certainly recommend that this attitude can help anyone fight through anything. 

It might be that you rededicate yourself to exercise and a good diet after this wake up call. It could be that you simply try to be nicer and more empathetic to people. We hope this doesn’t come across as blunt or insensitive, but there are so many people out there that let their hardship improve them. You’ll no doubt be one of those people. In this way, you can always make the best of a bad situation.

Leaning On Others Is Okay

It’s fine to lean on others. We all need to from time to time. And, furthermore, people want to help. They want to be leaned on. They don’t like seeing someone they know struggling and only allowing themselves to do that alone. It makes them feel unwanted and unhelpful. So – enlist your family members or ask for help from your friends if you really need it. There’s no shame here. It’s why people assembling in groups in the first place – to be part of one another’s journey.

With this advice, we hope you can learn to live with a health condition in the best possible sense.

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Health & Wellness

Many transgender people who receive hormone therapy have unaddressed heart disease risks

The researchers found that more than half of the study participants (56.5%) had been previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, which is also associated with increased risk of heart disease.

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.com

Many transgender people who receive gender-affirming hormone therapy already have unaddressed heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, even during young adulthood, according to new research presented via the American Heart Association.

“Previous research has shown that transgender individuals are less likely to have access to health care or to utilize health care for a variety of reasons, including stigma and fear of mistreatment,” said Kara J. Denby, M.D., lead study author and a clinical fellow in cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. “Since transgender individuals have frequent physician visits while taking hormone therapy, this seems an opportune time to screen for cardiovascular risk factors and treat previously undiagnosed cardiovascular disease that can lead to poor health outcomes in the future.”

The researchers examined risk factors and medical history for more than 400 adults (56% assigned male sex at birth, mostly in their 20s and 30s) when they first sought care at the multidisciplinary transgender program at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

The researchers found that more than half of the study participants (56.5%) had been previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, which is also associated with increased risk of heart disease.

For participants without current heart disease, two scoring systems were used to estimate their risk of developing heart disease. The researchers found: 6.8% had undiagnosed high blood pressure; and 11.3% had undiagnosed high cholesterol.

Of those already diagnosed with high blood pressure, more than one-third had not been receiving recommended treatment. And, of those already diagnosed with high cholesterol, more than three-quarters had not been receiving recommended treatment.

“When we calculated the risk for developing a heart attack or stroke over 10 years, the risk for transgender men and women was higher than that reported for the average (person) of their age and gender. We also found that, even in the highest risk individuals, many were not receiving recommended treatment,” said Denby.

In addition, the researchers found that more than half of the study participants (56.5%) had been previously diagnosed with a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression, which is also associated with increased risk of heart disease.

“Transgender individuals face numerous barriers and biases to access the health care they need. We owe it to them to improve access and care so they can improve their CVD health and overall well-being. Policies and health care structures that are safe and supportive are critical for the transgender population to achieve health equity,” Denby said.

The study, however, is limited by being a retrospective review of medical records. The results cannot be used to prove a cause-and-effect relationship between being transgender and the presence of heart disease risk factors.

Co-authors include Meghana Patil, M.D.; Karlo Toljan, M.D.; Leslie Cho, M.D.; and Cecile A. Ferrando, M.D., M.P.H. Author disclosures are in the abstract. The researchers reported no external funding sources.

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Italy eyes to make violence against LGBT people a hate crime

A bill eyeing to criminalize violence against LGBT people was approved in Italy’s lower house of parliament. It now needs final approval from upper house before becoming law.

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Image source: Pexels.com

A bill eyeing to criminalize violence against LGBT people was approved in Italy’s lower house of parliament. It now needs final approval from upper house before becoming law.

Italy’s lower house of parliament passed an anti-discrimination bill that makes violence committed against LGBT people and disabled people a hate crime. The bill actually modifies an existing law punishing racist violence, hatred and discrimination; with people convicted of such crimes facing up to four years in jail.

Approved by 265 votes to 193, with one abstention, the legislation now needs final approval from the upper house, where it is backed by the ruling coalition parties.

The bill actually only originally focused on tackling offenses involving homophobia, transphobia and misogyny. But it was eventually expanded to also offer protections to people with disability.

The bill did not exactly pass without opposition, particularly from right-wing parties, conservative groups and the Italian Catholic Church. Among the contentious elements was the bill’s proposal to observe the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May every year, with initiatives and ceremonies in Italian schools.

As reported by Arcigay, one of the biggest LGBTQIA organizations in Italy, there are more than 100 hate crime and discrimination cases reported in the country each year. But over the last 25 years, numerous attempts to create a law to punish acts of homophobia and transphobia have failed.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Win your customers over with humor

For inspiration, take a look at these top tips to win your customers over with humor.

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When it’s done right, humor can be a great way to connect with your target audience. It makes your business more relatable and allows potential customers to see the human side of your company. What’s more – humor can be a critical part of your brand, which means you’ll want to inject something funny into as much of your marketing materials as possible.

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

For inspiration, take a look at these top tips to win your customers over with humor.

Test Your Material

Just because you think something’s funny, doesn’t mean everyone else will. When it comes to testing your material, you’ll want to do more than just ask the person sitting next to you whether something’s amusing. With online market research, you can test potential concepts, puns, and jokes on members of your target audience. This gives you the chance to get honest feedback and figure out whether you’re hitting the right mark.

Own Your Mistakes

Every company makes mistakes from time-to-time, but it doesn’t need to wreck your brand. By owning your mistakes and putting things right, customers will forgive you for the odd misstep. If something has gone wrong, humor can be a good tool to use. You can acknowledge a mistake in an amusing way, show that you’re happy to laugh at yourself, and even enhance your customers’ opinion of your brand.

Use Varied Content

When it comes to being funny, you don’t have to stick to one tried and tested method. Whether you’re producing funny snack ads, amusing articles, or sassy social media posts, be as varied as possible. By incorporating numerous types of content into your marketing campaigns, you can reach more people and get a better return on your investment. Furthermore, you’ll be able to boost engagement across multiple platforms and reap the rewards that it brings.

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