Thursday, April 5, 2012

Career Profile of a Licensed Practical Nurse

Licensed practical nurses make up some of the lowest careers in the medical field. I don't mean to make that sound like a bad thing, as there is a big need for LPNs in the world. If you just want to jump right into healthcare, this is definitely a career to look into. You only have to spend about two years in school, and after that, you can handle most of the duties that registered nurses do every day. LPN training covers most of the prereqs for nursing, so you won't have to go through much more to become a registered nurse. Here is a look at what life may be like working as an LPN.

Employers for LPN Work

LPNs can work in a variety of venues, but most of them work in hospitals or health clinics. Those employers seem to have the best job opportunities for workers in this career field. The list below shows some of the many employers you may work under as an LPN. Feel free to apply for a job with any one of them when the time comes.

  • Colleges
  • Companies
  • Doctor offices
  • Fellowships
  • Foundations
  • Franchises
  • Government Offices
  • Hospitals
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Private Practice
  • School Districts
  • Teams

Industries for LPN Work

In addition to the number of employers that LPNs can work with, there are a lot of industries that need the help of licensed nurses. If you want to specialize in a certain area of nursing, you have the opportunity to do that as an LPN. If you choose the right industry, you might be able to increase your salary in the future. Here is a quick list of concentrations you may want to keep in mind:

  • Family Medicine
  • Healthcare
  • Home Health Care
  • Hospitalization
  • Long-Term Care
  • Rehabilitation
  • Medical Services
  • Nursing Home

Training for LPN Work

To become an LPN, all you need is an associate's degree in nursing or higher. Some students choose to obtain a bachelor's degree because they want to work in a higher paying position over time. You do not have to do this though. You can take most of the classes for your degree online, or you could take them in person if you wanted to. It just depends on the kind of education you want to go through. Possible degree programs include:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor's Degree in Nursing
  • Certificate in Nursing
  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Technical Certificate in Nursing

Certifications for LPN Work

Once you get your degree in nursing, you will need to go through a certification exam to verify your knowledge. There are several certifications you may need to get, so check with your state nursing board to find out which one is right for you. Possibilities include:

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Basic Cardiac Life Support
  • Basic Life Support
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support
  • Wound Care Certification

Pay Rates for LPN Work

If you decide that you do in fact want to work as an LPN, you should be able to make decent money. This job may not make you a millionaire, but it should help you support your family. If you find the right job from the beginning, you can make a great salary as an LPN. Here are some charts to show you just how great that salary can be:

Salary by Experience
  • Less than 1 year of experience: $21,221 - $46,293 per year
  • 1-4 years of experience: $23,673 - $48,483 per year
  • 5-9 years of experience: $24,691 - $51,947 per year
  • 10-19 years of experience: $26,717 - $59,138 per year
  • 20+ years of experience: $26,711 - $56,084 per year

Salary by State
  • Florida: $25,468 - $55,859 per year
  • Georgia: $24,453 - $48,197 per year
  • New York: $26,801 - $53,543 per year
  • North Carolina: $25,125 - $48,262 per year
  • Ohio: $23,064 - $50,811 per year
  • Pennsylvania: $22,694 - $53,849 per year
  • Virginia: $24,125 - $51,209 per year

Working as a licensed practical nurse may not be for everyone, but it could be a great opportunity for you. Take a look at the career a little closer, and you should be able to determine if you are destined to be an LPN.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Difference between a Nurse and a Medical Assistant

When most people hear the term "medical assistant," they think about a nurse. Even though nurses and medical assistants can take on many of the same tasks in their workplaces, they are not the same people in the slightest. Before you jump into a medical career along these lines, you may want to make sure you know what each position is going to consist of. That way you can determine which one is right for you. Here is a look at the difference between medical assistants and nurses so you cab find your true path in life.

What Nurses Do

Nurses are responsible for patient care at a minute level. They check vital signs, administer medication, answer basic questions, and watch over patients under their care. They do not do any sort of examination like a doctor would, but they do work directly with the health of a patient. Without nurses, doctors would be on call 24 hours a day to monitor the patients they care for. Nurses are needed to do all of the little tasks that make a doctor's job easier when he or she comes to work.

What Medical Assistants Do

Medical assistants take on the clerical duties in healthcare. They are in charge of organizing documents, scheduling appointments, and making sure that patients get to where they need to be. Some medical assistants will check vital signs like a nurse would, but they mainly do the secretarial tasks in their place of work. Nurses write down the documents that medical assistants file away. That is an easy way to remember the difference between the two workers. Don't let the term "assistant" fool you. Medical assistants don't do much with regards to patient care.

Differences in Education

A medical assistant does not necessarily have to have an education related to the medical field. As long as he or she has a business administration background and some knowledge of medical terminology, he or she can get a job. Nurses have to go to school specifically for nursing. They cannot stray from a medically based education. Both workers may end up in the same environment, but their roles within that environment change the education they have to pursue. If you want to learn more about the business side of the medical field, medical assistance would be the right path for you.

Both educational programs only take two years to complete at the base level, so there is no major difference in commitment between the jobs. If you want to get into work quickly, either one of these programs should allow you to do that. Thus the only thing you have to determine is what you want to do at work in the future. This will help you decide which career is ultimately going to be ideal for you.

Getting the Best of Both Worlds

In some cases, you may be able to act as both a nurse and a medical assistant for an establishment if you have a good education. This will require you to take business courses and nursing courses in college, but it would allow you to work in both roles at once. This is not an ideal pursuit for everyone, but it could be right for you. You just have to think about what you want out of your life.

Take the time to really assess these career options, and determine which one you think you would do well in. You should be on your way to a rewarding career in no time.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Have You Thought about a Medical Assistant Degree?

For some people, learning how to become a nurse practitioner is a little too overwhelming. They just need a degree program that is going to help them get a job that pays well without a ton of training beforehand. If you are one of those people, you may want to think about getting a degree as a medical assistant. This process should only take two to four years, and it could open an immense number of job opportunities for you. Listed below are some of the courses you may take in this field so you can determine if it really is a good option for you. Read on to see what you might be up against in the near future.

Secretarial Courses in Medical Assistant Degrees

A medical assistant needs to know as much about the clerical side of the business as she does about the medical side, if not more. This is a person that must organize the paperwork for a health care facility and ensure that the information within it is easy to find and read. Thus if you want to get a medical assistant degree, you will need to take some secretarial classes to learn the basics. Those courses may include:

  • Customer Service
  • Filing
  • Phone Etiquette
  • Typing

Business Courses in Medical Assistant Degrees

Even though medical assistants are supposed to work under other people, they still need to understand how a business runs. That way they can adjust their work to accommodate the office they are in. You do not need a full business administration degree to work in medical assisting, but you do need a rough idea of how the industry works. Some courses in college will provide you with that rough idea, including:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Organization
  • Management in Medicine
  • Medical Finances

Medical Courses in Medical Assistant Degrees

Of course, there has to be a medical side to this kind of degree program. That is where the "medical" in medical assistant comes into play. You have to have a general understanding of medical terminology and procedures in order to work in a hospital or clinic. These courses will provide you with that knowledge so you can do your job. Some of them include:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Doctor/Patient Confidentiality
  • Patient Record Keeping
  • Medical Law

If you choose to specialize in a certain area of medical assistance, you will probably have additional courses related to that area. For instance, you may take courses on pediatrics if you want to work with children or courses on oncology if you want to work with cancer patients. Every school has a different set of degrees to choose from, so you will just have to explore the electives available to you to figure out what to take.


If you really want to get into this profession, you need to have some kind of education in it. A medical assistant degree is easy to get, and it will lead you directly into your career. You do not have to spend long in school, and you may actually enjoy the process if you give it a chance. Check out the training options you have online and in a local college, and see if there is anything that interests you. It only takes one opportunities to launch your success.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Work of a Critical Care Nurse

Critical care nurses are men and women who work with patients in life or death situations. They often work in the intensive care units of hospitals, caring for those who may not have much time left to live. While this may seem like a depressing line of work to be in, it can actually be rather rewarding because of the miraculous success stories in the career. Critical care nurses need a little more education than other nurses, just because of the caliber of patients they have to work with. If you think this sounds like a career you may enjoy being a part of, you need to know a little more about it. Here is an overview of this line of work so you can determine if it is a good fit for you.

Critical Care Nurse Job Duties

What do critical care nurses do? These nurses are in charge of all the tedious medical needs that patients have in critical care facilities. This will vary from patient to patient, depending on the type of ailment he or she is suffering from. Here is a list of some common job duties critical care nurses go through in their work.

  • Checking vital signs for patients throughout the day
  • Changing bedpans and helping patients get to the bathroom
  • Administering prescriptions to patients (per the doctor's orders)
  • Creating patient progress reports for doctors to review
  • Helping patients learn what they will have to do to care for themselves at home
  • Supporting patients in difficult times so they can get better

If the job duties above sound like they are right up your alley, you may be a perfect fit for critical care nursing. You just have to figure out if you are capable of taking care of people that are in the most serious circumstances possible. If so, you should do quite well in this profession.

Pay Rates for Critical Care Nurses

Critical care nurses make pretty good money, but they have a lot more on their plates as a result of that. The stress of the job is too overwhelming for some people to handle, but those who can deal with the pressure are rewarded well. Here is a look at the average salaries for men and women in the field of critical nursing:

Salary by Industry
  • Acute Care Hospital: $71,945 per year
  • Education: $60,000 per year
  • Health Care Services: $81,502 per year
  • Healthcare: $78,383 per year
  • Hospital: $74,767 per year
  • Medical Services: $71,386 per year
  • Military and the Armed Forces: $89,300 per year

Salary by Position
  • Registered Nurse: $72,615 per year
  • Clinical Nurse Manager: $85,026 per year
  • Nursing Director: $96,159 per year
  • Nurse, Intensive Care Unit: $64,988 per year
  • Nurse Educator: $68,227 per year
  • Emergency Room RN: $65,912 per year
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: $82,469 per year

How to Become a Critical Care Nurse

Becoming a critical care nurse is much like becoming any other kind of nurse. You must first go through a bachelor of science in nursing to work as an RN, and then you will need to go through a master's degree related to critical care. After that, you will most likely have to go through a few certification exams for your state before you can actually go to work. Once you have a little experience working as a base level nurse, you should be able to move into the critical care ward. This may take a little time to do, but it will be worth the wait if you are passionate about this career.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression occurs after the birth of a child. The mother goes into a severe bout of sadness once she is through with the birthing process. Some women are more likely to go through this than others, but this problem seems to be happening more and more as the years progress. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, you may want to figure out if you are at risk of developing postpartum depression in the near future. That way you can take steps to prevent the problem from coming up. Here is a look at some of the most common risk factors to keep in mind so you can be fully prepared for the emotions after childbirth.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

To understand the risk factors for postpartum depression, you must first understand the causes. There isn't one single cause that is universal among all women. In some instances, the depression may result from a sudden drop in female hormones that occurs after childbirth. For other women, the stress of a newborn and the resulting fatigue can lead to postpartum depression. Life stresses in general could also enhance the problem, such as financial struggles, difficulties with other children, or marital arguments. Whatever the case may be, there is no denying that postpartum depression is a struggle to be avoided at all costs. That is why it is discussed so much in medical assistant schools.

Depression in the Past

One of the primary risk factors for postpartum depression is pre-existing cases of depression. If you were depressed before your pregnancy or during it, chances are the mood swings and stress related to having a baby will spark a case of postpartum depression. If you have had such symptoms in the past, talk to your doctor about treatments you can go into once you have your baby that may potentially ward off the severity of it all. Your depression could lead to suicidal thoughts or massive mood swings. You don't want any of that when you are raising a newborn.

Postpartum Depression in Other Pregnancies

Another one of the risk factors for postpartum depression is if you had it during a previous pregnancy. You should again notify your doctor of this so you can find preventative measures so the problem does not repeat itself. You might also be at risk if this pregnancy was unexpected. The stress of a sudden pregnancy will cause all kinds of bodily issues because of the surprise and concern. This is especially true if you didn't want a child in the first place.

Unstable Relationships

Also among the risk factors for postpartum depression is having an unstable relationship. Constant fighting and a lack of support can cause emotions to run wild. If you couple that with the financial burden of a new child or the physical strain of the pregnancy itself and you have a means for disaster. If you know that your marriage or relationship is rocky, seek counseling to get over your issues before they lead to greater troubles. Make decisions about this relationship during the pregnancy so the birth of the child is as stress-free as possible. This will lessen your chances of getting postpartum depression.

No woman wants to go through postpartum depression, but the fact is that it happens. You don't have to be a victim of the issue though. You can talk to your doctor about your risks and do everything you can to avoid complications after your pregnancy. With the right help from the right doctor, you can get back on your feet in no time. Then you can actually enjoy the moments you get with your new baby.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

C Sections Can Lead to Hernias

A Cesarean section (commonly known as a C section) is an operation used in child birth to remove a child through the abdomen, rather than between the legs. A lot of women assume that this option is better than natural childbirth because they do not have to do a lot of work for it. They can go in for an operation and come out with a baby in hand. This may be true, but there are a number of medical problems that could come up that women need to keep in mind. One of these problems is a hernia, which is a common result of a C section. Here is a look at how this even happens and what may cause it to occur.

What Is a Hernia?

A hernia after a C section is known as an incisional hernia. This is a result of a weakened muscle in a woman's abdominal area that allows for underlying muscles to pop up to the surface. This makes a slight bump in that area, which could be painful because of the tenderness. The raise happens in the area where the incision occurred during delivery, hence the name incisional hernia. It is fairly common amongst new mothers, but it can be a scare if you aren't aware of what is going on. Let's examine this problem a bit further so you can have a greater understanding of treatments, causes and the like.

Who Is at Risk of Developing a Hernia after a C Section?

Any patient who has abdominal surgery is at risk for an incisional hernia, but obviously only pregnant women can get a hernia after a C section. You can increase your chances of getting an incisional hernia if you gain a lot of weight after your pregnancy. This adds unnecessary stress to the body that can cause all kinds of things to move around. If you do a lot of heavy lifting after birth, you might also increase your chances of getting a hernia because of the resultant strain. Getting pregnant soon after giving birth may also increase your risks.

How Can I Detect a Hernia?

Discovering a hernia after a C section usually happens when some sort of abdominal activity is engaged, like coughing or a bowel movement. If you start noticing some tenderness in that area, simply look down for a bump. That raised area will provide a swift diagnose to share with your doctor. You should not need to have any additional testing done beyond a simple doctor's exam. In rare instances, a large hernia may need some testing just to determine additional underlying causes. You will most likely not need to worry about that.

How Is a C Section Hernia Corrected?

Getting surgery to improve a hernia after a C section might not actually be necessary, unless you happen to be under a severe case. Large, persistent and reoccurring hernias do need surgical treatment so they don't turn into even worse problems than they already are. For the small issues, however, there are belts out there that put pressure on the raised muscles to keep them in place. They are called trusses and many doctors recommend their use. As could be expected, consulting with your doctor will be the best way for you to determine what your options are.


The majority of women may go without having a hernia with a C section, but there is a good portion of the population that experiences this problem. You have to keep this in mind if you are planning to have a C section because it could have a big impact on your health. Talk to your doctor about your risks and you can make a decision from there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Work of a Neonatal Nurse

A neonatal nurse is a medical professional that cares for newborns with health problems. These babies are usually premature, but some of them are born with birth defects that need to be carefully monitored. There are three stages of neonatal nursing that you could potentially work in, and each stage involves a different level of care and commitment. If you like working with babies and are thinking about specializing in a certain field of nursing, this could definitely be an option for you. Here is an overview of neonatal nursing to help you see if this is a good career for you.

Job Duties of a Neonatal Nurse

The job duties of a neonatal nurse will vary by patient, by ward, and by day. Thus you will have to learn new information and adjust to new requirements every single day if you want to work in this profession. Listed below are some common neonatal nurse job duties:

  • Assisting physicians as they check the health condition of patients
  • Monitoring the machines that sustain life for newborns
  • Feeding newborns and changing their diapers
  • Training parents to care for their children after they are released from the hospital
  • Checking the vital signs of neonatal patients regularly
  • Administering medications to babies

There are plenty of other duties that may come about for the job, but that gives you a good idea as to what you may experience if you choose to work in this career,

Salary Levels of a Neonatal Nurse

A neonatal nurse salary is similar to a pediatric nurse salary as these fields both involve specialized training and skills. In some areas though, neonatal nurses earn a little bit more than pediatric nurses because they have to work with intensive care patients. Here is a look at some of the salary levels you could experience in this profession:

Salary by Position

  • Emergency Room Registered Nurse: $60,212 per year
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: $76,975 per year
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner: $80,242 per year
  • Nurse Practitioner: $63,542 per year
  • Pediatrics Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner: $54,028 per year
  • Registered Nurse: $51,093 per year
  • Respiratory Therapist: $55,000 per year

Salary by Certification

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS): $57,769 per year
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC): $77,599 per year
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation: $58,075 per year
  • Critical Care: $57,536 per year
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) Provider: $61,568 per year
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS): $69,189 per year
  • Pediatrics: $72,482 per year
  • Registered Nurse (RN): $59,413 per year
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT): $51,620 per year

Salary by Years of Experience

  • Less than 1 year: $48,908 per year
  • 1-4 years: $50,161 per year
  • 5-9 years: $60,109 per year
  • 10-19 years: $68,344 per year
  • 20 years or more: $72,953 per year

How to Become a Neonatal Nurse

If you think you want to become a neonatal nurse, you will need to go through a college degree program with an emphasis on neonatal care. This could be a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ADN), or a master of science in nursing (MSN). It just depends on where you want to work within the field. In just a few short years though, you could be working at a hospital or clinic as a neonatal nurse.