Today’s job market can be challenging. However, nursing continues to be one of the most in-demand careers available. If you already have a degree but are interested in switching to a career in nursing, you have options.
At Nebraska Methodist College, interested students can choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) through either the college’s traditional or accelerated programs. While the pace of Nebraska Methodist College’s traditional BSN is what you’d expect in a four-year setting, the college’s Accelerated Community-Based Education (ACE) nursing program puts students on the fast track to their new nursing career. Through the ACE program — which is for those students who have already earned a previous associate’s or bachelor’s degree — students with can earn their BSN in just 15 months.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself when deciding between the two programs:
- What level of time commitment can I make to earning my degree?
In either program, earning your BSN degree requires a significant time commitment in terms of attending class, studying course materials and participating in clinical experiences. However, because of its fast pace, the ACE program requires a greater time commitment from students than the traditional BSN. Students in the ACE program should be prepared to devote hours comparable to a full-time job to their coursework for the 15 months of the program.
- Can I have a fulltime job while I earn my degree?
While students in the traditional program are able to have jobs outside the classroom, Nebraska Methodist College recommends students in the ACE program not have a job because of the commitment the program requires.
- What kind of learner am I?
Both programs require students to have strong learning skills, but if you are able to assimilate and demonstrate new knowledge and skills at a fast pace, the ACE program might be right for you.
Another Option to Consider: ACE Blended
Nebraska Methodist College’s upcoming ACE Blended program will combine the fast pace of the ACE program with the advantages of online learning. The program, beginning in Spring 2016, will offer students another tailored option to earn their BSN in just 15 months. Through the ACE Blended program, students will attend online classes Monday through Friday from the comfort of their homes and complete clinical experiences on the weekends. Like the ACE program, ACE Blended is for students who are rapid learners who can devote full-time hours to the program.
Summer break can be a chance for college students to rest and recharge after a busy year. It also can be a great opportunity to get ahead. In either case, it’s important for students to retain the valuable knowledge and skills they learned in the classroom.
Kevin Powers, Coordinator of Academic Success at Nebraska Methodist College, offers the following tips for students to use their summer wisely in order to hit the ground running when they return in the fall:
- Use it or lose it. It’s a lot easier to forget things than it is to remember them. Find ways to stay connected to your material during summer break. Make time each week to brush up by reviewing notes, answering questions in textbooks or practicing some of the skills you learned in your labs with friends. It can prevent you from having to take time to relearn that material later.
- Get a job. Finding a summer job or internship in your field of study will help you maintain, and likely expand upon, the knowledge you’ve learned in the classroom. Plus, that job or internship will give you important experience that you can put on your résumé.
- Take a summer course. If you want to get ahead, taking a class during the summer can be a good way to earn credits ahead of schedule and maintain your academic momentum. Keep your expectations realistic though, and don’t overload yourself with too much work.
- Work ahead. Even if you’re not taking a summer class, you can still get a jumpstart on fall by doing things like previewing the texts or viewing videos online associated with your upcoming courses. Reach out to your instructor for recommendations.
- New students, get to know your advisor. Advisors are filled a wealth of essential information. Visit them often and ask questions. They can help you plan your schedule as well as understand what to expect in your first year and beyond.
- Take a break. College is tough, and sometimes we all need a mental break. Whether you are working to maintain what you’ve learn or trying to get ahead, make sure to find time to relax and properly recharge your batteries this summer.
Feel free to comment about your favorite summer activities.
Nebraska Methodist College student Molly Bouc is one of the many members of the recently graduated Class of 2014. Bouc graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Surgical Technology. Bouc took time out of her busy schedule to talk about graduation and her future job at the Nebraska Medical Center.
How does it feel to be graduated and have your degree?
It’s definitely a good feeling now having graduated, already having a job right out of school and becoming certified all right in a row.
What are you planning to do with your degree?
I have a job lined up with the Nebraska Medical Center. I actually start really soon. At the Nebraska Medical Center, the orientation is about four months and you go through all of their different specialties. You see where you fit in best and where there are openings. I’m aiming to be part of the neuro team, but that will just depend on how things go with orientation.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in surgical technology?
I wanted to be a surgeon for a long time. I shadowed a surgeon and decided that wasn’t for me. So I looked for other outlets that were still involved in the operating room, and that’s how I found surgical technology.
When I was younger, I had a surgical procedure and I remember looking over when I was laying on the operating room table and I was like, “What are all those instruments?” I asked the lady standing there if I could touch and see the instruments. She said, “No, they’re sterile, I can’t let you do that.” But it’s funny how things in my childhood have come back around. Now, here I am the one who is doing that job. Maybe someday another curious kid like myself will ask me the same question.
Why is working in a career in healthcare important to you?
I’m very passionate about healthcare. I love helping people, seeing a better outcome and knowing that I made a difference. I have a bone tumor in my arm, and so when I was younger, I was exposed to all these different medical areas. I just really wanted to become involved and reach out to other people who have maybe gone through the same thing I did.
What will you remember most about Nebraska Methodist College?
I will remember my instructors most — Jamie Walker and Christy Grant. They became more than just instructors. They became family. Those are things I will always remember — having the opportunity to just go knock on their door and talk to them about my day or things that were going on. They were always there. I first met Christy when I first visited Nebraska Methodist College, and I knew it’d be a good fit for me. Christy reminded me of myself and was someone I wanted to be like.
Now having graduated, what advice would you have for new students?
My advice to new students is to never give up, and if they even have a slight interest, they should definitely explore those interests further. You never know where it might take you. Also, know that what we do is not easy. There are going to be days where it’s hard and you just have to keep pushing through. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Through the Mobile Diabetes Center, Nebraska Methodist College students provide crucial diabetes screenings and education in a wide variety of community settings while gaining valuable experience. Through Omaha Gives!, the community will have an opportunity to support the next generation of the Mobile Diabetes Center.
The Cornbelt Diabetes Connection (CDC), a chapter of Cosmopolitan International, will participate in Omaha Gives! on Wednesday, May 21, as part of its effort to raise funds for a new Mobile Diabetes Center. The Mobile Diabetes Center is a partnership between CDC and Nebraska Methodist College’s Center for Health Partnerships.
Omaha Gives! is a 24-hour, online giving event organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to grow philanthropy in the metro area. During the event, supporters can give donations of $10 or more to their favorite nonprofit organizations. Those donations will then be amplified by matching funds and prize money awarded to organizations at the top of the Omaha Gives! leaderboard.
A new Mobile Diabetes Center is expected to cost approximately $350,000. So far, CDC and Nebraska Methodist College have raised $200,000 for the new center from grants and individual donations, leaving about $150,000 left to go.
For more information about Omaha Gives!, visit omahagives24.org.
With graduation just days away, we want to say congratulations to the Nebraska Methodist College Class of 2014. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors as you search for your first jobs, begin new careers or perhaps prepare for graduate study.
If you aren’t graduating this year, now is a great time to take a good look at your friends who are and start taking notes. Take the opportunity to ask them questions and learn from their successes as well as challenges in pursuing their chosen careers.
Before you graduate, here are five things you should do:
- Study. This probably seems obvious, but don’t take this advice for granted. For many Nebraska Methodist College students, your finals won’t be the last tests you have to take. Licensing exams, such as the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) for nurses, will follow soon after graduation.
- Job shadow. If you really want to find out what a job is like, shadowing someone for a day is a great way to find out. While job shadowing, you will quickly find out if a job really is or isn’t for you. It’s also a great way to meet people in your future career field, which brings us to our next point…
- Network. Join and participate in the student association or society for your respective career field. Through these organizations you will meet others in your field while gaining great insight into your future career. Also, go to career fairs and recruitment events (even if you have already found a job) to learn about all the opportunities that exist in your career field. Dress nice and bring plenty of résumés. Speaking of résumés…
- Build or update your résumé. Once it’s time to apply for a job, having a current résumé will save you some time because you won’t have to start from scratch. Include all work experience you’ve ever had — not just healthcare-related experience — and clearly list any clinicals or internships you’ve done. Also, update your references. Make sure to personally ask each person you plan to list if they will give you a positive reference. Ask your advisor or a professor to give you feedback on your résumé.
- Have some fun. Yes, classwork comes first, but don’t forget to enjoy the ride. Once you graduate, you may not see many of your college friends again as your lives and careers take you in different directions. After graduations, things may get a little hectic, so make time to hang out with your friends now.
Kelli Hansen is the chief nursing officer and founder of Advocate Nurses, LLC and the business development coordinator for A Voice 4 U, LLC. She is also a student in Nebraska Methodist College’s Healthcare Operations Management master’s program. Kelli took time out of her busy schedule this week to discuss her career and her passion for patient advocacy.
How long have you worked in healthcare?
I have been involved in the healthcare industry since age 14. I started out as a candy striper volunteer at my local hospital, progressing to becoming a CNA during my undergraduate study and eventually becoming a registered nurse in 1997.
Why are you pursuing a master’s in Healthcare Operations Management?
I am a person who likes to challenge myself to become more educated to continue in my career. I feel that the more educated I can be, the more people I can help and the greater the difference I can make in people’s lives.
Tell us about your positions at Advocate Nurses and A Voice 4 U.
I started Advocate Nurses, LLC in August 2012 after seeing a need for patients and their families to have assistance. They need someone guiding them through the coordination of care and as a voice representing them. As an RN with various experiences, I feel that I have the knowledge and resources to help ease the burdens and stress that families feel when going through healthcare issues. I am the chief nursing officer with Advocate Nurses, LLC. We focus on general nurse consulting services, from medical review to general nursing assessments, and provide advocacy services to clients in need.
Since October 2012, I’ve also worked as a business development coordinator for A Voice 4 U, LLC. We are a new company focusing on healthcare concierge/patient advocacy services. We are hoping to launch this business to the public in 2014. We will provide assistance, referrals and advocate assistance to clients in a number of areas. In addition, we are launching a medical emergency ID card called “ICE” (in case of emergency), a cloud-based medical database and a children’s educational medical game. I focus on bringing in new business, investors and opportunities with other partnerships, in addition to being very involved with the clinical side and other important aspects of company development working closely with the president of the company. Once the company launches, my role within the company will likely expand to include advocacy and potentially as a franchise owner.
What makes you so passionate about patient advocacy?
I have experienced the personal loss of family members and have seen medical errors being made with family and friends. I have a passion for helping people in general. I have seen many families struggle with nowhere to turn for help and no one advocating for the patient’s or the family’s needs. Oftentimes, patients don’t have family or they are far away, and this leaves the patient to struggle on their own or the families burdened to try and help from many miles away with no one to assist. I want to ease that burden and make a difference in people’s lives.
What do you enjoy most about working in healthcare?
I always knew that I wanted to be a part of healthcare. My grandmother was a nurse in the days of white caps and dresses. I grew up seeing what an impact one person can make on someone’s life. It’s not an easy career sometimes, and at times, it can be thankless. But when I go to bed at night knowing that I enriched one person’s life that day, it’s a great feeling. I love health and medicine in general and solving issues to improve someone’s life. I can’t explain it exactly, it’s just part of who I am; I think it’s been in my blood since the day I was born.
What do you do like to do with your free time?
I love to spend time with my husband and my five-year-old adopted daughter. We enjoy going to the zoo, going to Kansas City on trips, flower gardening, going on hikes and picnics, and exploring new places. Of course, that sometimes includes shopping.
Read Kelli Hansen’s article “Examining the History of Medicare and Long-Term Care Planning,” which was recently published in Inner Circle Executive Magazine.
As vice president of Academic Affairs, Paul Savory, Ph.D., plays a major role in ensuring that Nebraska Methodist College’s programs are effectively preparing students to thrive as healthcare professionals. Savory was recently selected to by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in its Executive Leadership Academy. He is one of 23 senior-level administrators in higher education nationwide to be chosen for the year-long program, which prepares provosts and vice presidents with the skills and knowledge to be future college presidents. Savory took a moment this week to discuss his career and his passion for education.
Tell us about your career as an educator.
I have been in higher education for more than 20 years, having started as an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1994. I advanced through the academic ranks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was promoted to Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and later moved to the Department of Management. In addition to my faculty responsibilities at UNL, I assumed a range of administrative positions, including interim associate vice chancellor for extended education and outreach, the director of summer sessions and coordinator of the peer review of teaching project. Then in June 2012, I joined Nebraska Methodist College in my current role as vice president of Academic Affairs.
What is your role at Nebraska Methodist College?
I serve as the chief academic officer and dean of the college. This involves providing direction and leadership for our three academic divisions — Nursing, Arts & Sciences and Health Professions — and supervising the budget, policies, evaluation and planning for all academic programs.
What makes you so passionate about higher education?
Being an effective educator is more encompassing than just being able to deliver a student lecture with coherence, clarity and the ability to sustain students’ attention. Rather, being effective requires one to impact students in the classroom, encourage student enthusiasm and inquiry outside of the classroom, and to participate in efforts to improve the direction, role and value of teaching and scholarship. Overall, we impact students’ lives and help set a foundation for their future success.
As an administrator, what do think the future holds for Nebraska Methodist College?
The future is extremely bright for Nebraska Methodist College. We are personalized enough to develop one-on-one connections with our students that will greatly impact their success academically and as a health professional.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t working at your job at Nebraska Methodist College?
My wife and I juggle taking our two daughters to their sporting events and school activities.
In March, a group of 11 Nebraska Methodist College students participated in the Spring Break Service Immersion, giving them a first-hand look at food issues in the surrounding Omaha community. The service immersion focused on the nutritional status of children among Omaha’s urban population.
Nebraska Methodist College’s service immersions provide students with intensive community-based learning experiences. Through the service immersions, Nebraska Methodist College aims to provide students with opportunities to gain greater self and global awareness by studying diverse cultures, politics, economics and healthcare.
During the March service immersion, students explored food insecurities within Omaha and learned about strategies for preventing of childhood obesity. The service immersion took the students to a number of organizations in the Omaha area to both learn and volunteer:
- The group joined with employees of Woodhouse Auto Group in volunteering at the Food Bank for the Heartland. The group formed a production line to package weekend food backpacks for area children in need. The project provided breakfast and lunch for children in need during the weekends when they are away from school. The food was provided by a partnership between the Food Bank and ConAgra, which serves more than 8,000 children throughout 220 schools.
- Students learned about The Big Garden, an outreach program aimed at establishing community gardens throughout Omaha in an effort to improve nutritional health and facilitate community development. The community gardens are focused on providing communities of need with options of having fresh produce and bringing the community and neighbors together by working as a team. The Big Garden provides support in establishing the community gardens, including securing grant money for seed and soil, building raised beds in areas where the soil may have lead contamination and providing education to the individuals in the community about continuing their garden.
- The group visited Table Grace Café during the service immersion. The café is a non-profit restaurant in downtown Omaha that focuses on providing food to everyone who walks through their door whether or not they can pay for it. The café runs off of donations from patrons, but doesn’t turn away those who can’t donate. The café encourages those who can’t donate to volunteer at the restaurant.
- The immersion brought the students to the Omaha Opportunities Industrialization Center where they assisted members of the adult program in starting their own garden. While some students helped the members assemble garden starter kits of seeds and potting soil, other students helped till soil in garden beds to prepare for planting. The students provided instructions on how to care for the new plants and talked about ways to prepare the vegetables. The members were very excited and seemed to have a lot of hope for taking care of their new project.
- The students visited with a school nurse at Minne Lusa Elementary School in North Omaha to learn about the food insecurity issues among the families in the surrounding community.
All jobs in nursing aren’t the same. In fact, nurses come in a variety of careers and specialties that more than blow the lid off of outdated nursing stereotypes.
Nurses have a number of career paths to choose from, specializing in all sorts of areas such as primary care, management, information and even forensics.
To illustrate, here is a look at five unique careers in nursing — one or more of which might be in your future:
Forensic nurses provide specialized care for patients who are victims or perpetrators of crimes. While caring for patients comes first and foremost, these nurses are responsible for collecting evidence, providing medical testimony in court and consulting with legal authorities. Forensic nurses have specialized legal knowledge and skills to identify injuries, conduct evaluations of patients and provide necessary legal documentation.
Nurse navigators follow patients through transitional care, enhancing communication by serving as the single point of contact between patients, physicians and caregivers. These nurses help patients navigate clinical and supportive care services within a health system and in the community. Also referred to as patient navigators, these nurses coordinate patient appointments and work to eliminate barriers to timely and effective care. Nurse navigators also provide health education to patients before and after they receive care.
Informatics nurses manage electronic medical records required at healthcare facilities. These nurses work to improve information management and communication in nursing to increase efficiency, reduce costs and enhance the quality of patient care. Nursing informatics is a specialty that combines nursing science, computer science and information science. Nurses in informatics support patients, nurses and other providers in their decision-making throughout the care process.
eICU nurses are experienced in intensive care and facilitate electronic monitoring of ICU patients from a distant site. eICU nurses work with cutting edge technology that allows them to effectively monitor critical care patients. These nurses provide support to critical care physicians and nurses on the ground at the ICU, helping them to improve response times and intervene before a patient’s condition deteriorates.
In addition to offering undergrad and graduate degrees in nursing, Nebraska Methodist College also offers professional development courses for healthcare providers. With year-round courses including CPR, cardiac and pediatric life support and other seasonal courses, we’re committed to the development of the healthcare profession. In the rapidly changing field of nursing, choosing your degree is just the beginning.
Nurse practitioners in Nebraska may soon be able to practice independently, thanks to a bill recently advanced in the Nebraska State Legislature. According to an article in Tuesday’s Omaha World-Herald, Legislative Bill 916 would eliminate a requirement in Nebraska’s current law that nurse practitioners have practice agreements with physicians.
The bill was introduced by State Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, who said Nebraska’s current law is adding to a shortage of primary care in the state’s rural areas. According to Crawford, 70 percent of nurse practitioners trained in Nebraska leave for other states. Iowa, Colorado and 16 other states allow nurse practitioners to practice independently without physicians agreements.
The issue at the heart of the bill is that Nebraska’s physician numbers in rural areas are dwindling at the same time that demand is increasing from aging populations and those newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. However, nurse practitioners are trained to fill those primary care roles, and research has shown that they are able to do so effectively. Two state review panels overseen by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have endorsed LB 916.
To learn more about the need for nurse practitioners in Nebraska to have greater independence, read “Midlands Voices: Nurse practitioners critically important,” an opinion article by Dr. Dennis Joslin, President and CEO of Nebraska Methodist College, published in the Omaha World-Herald in December 2013.