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HarryTheCat MSN, RN

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  1. It's not an easy path to follow. In my area, universities won't consider anyone for a tenure track position without a DNP or PhD, or at least be working to complete a doctorate. MSN-Ed degrees are hired as clinical instructors, but not on a tenure track. Schools are using a lot of adjuncts, some even with terminal degrees, but they're working for $3,000 - $5,000 per course.
  2. As a new grad in a "buyers market", you really don't have a lot of bargaining power, and not every employer will even ask you what you're looking for. Most will already have a figure or a narrow range in mind, and you can only hurt yourself if you give them a number. If you blurt out a number that is below what they are thinking, they might just hire you for less than the going rate. If you toss out a figure that's above their starting rate, they may just write you off as too demanding. If they do ask, the best way to handle it is to gently turn it right back to them by saying something like, "Being a new nurse, salary isn't as important to me as being the right fit for a job that will give me an opportunity to develop my nursing skills, and to be valued member of the team. I'm sure that if I am the right person for this job that the compensation will be appropriate to the position." By answering in this manner, you've taken a "knock-out" question and turned it into an opportunity to emphasize that you are looking to grow as a nurse, and that you're a team player. Then if you do receive an offer, and the amount isn't something you can live with, you can always turn it down. Just don't expect them to come back with a higher number. There are probably lots of other new grads they can hire if you don't want the job.
  3. HarryTheCat

    ALL-RN Care model

    That "All RN Care" model always sounds like a brilliant idea when some consultant is selling it to the suits in Admin. Then one day some bean counter plugs it all into an Excel spreadsheet and figures out, "Yikes! We're now paying RN rates for work that used to be accomplished at PCT rates!", and it all goes back to the way it was before. It doesn't usually take a scholarly, peer-reviewed study to convince Admin that saving money is a pretty good thing after all.
  4. HarryTheCat

    The worst job you had before becoming a Nurse?

    I think the worst "pre-nursing" job ever may have been my wife's. She was in the Army during the invasion of Iraq (2003 - 2004), and some of her experiences included: * While waiting in Kuwait to invade, they were attacked with Scud missiles, one of which she saw destroyed by a Patriot missile battery right over their camp. Scuds were rumored to be armed with chemical weapons, so much of the time they were in full MOPP gear in the desert heat. * During the run up to the North, they were constantly on the move, sleeping in holes in the ground or on the hoods of their vehicles. Four or five hours of sleep was a luxury. * The "ladies' room" was the same as the "men's room" - a slit trench in the sand - no walls - you just "drop trou" and squat over the trench. Then they'd douse the whole thing with diesel fuel and burn it. You did NOT want to be downwind when they did that. *Everywhere they went, they were in "full battle rattle", including body armor and carrying a weapon with a full ammo load-out. Daytime temps could reach 130 degrees (F), and there wasn't much shade to be found. * Breakfast, lunch and dinner was MREs - "Meals Ready to Eat", sometimes referred to as "Meals Rejected by Ethiopians". If you had time to eat it. * Water was trucked in, and it tasted like the truck, but they had to hydrate constantly in the dry desert heat. Kool-Aid was about the only thing that could kill the taste, so it was worth its weight in gold. I sent boxes of it every week. It almost became the unofficial currency of the war, and you could trade it for just about anything you needed. Four containers of Kool-Aid were worth a new set of tires for a Humvee. * Showers were nonexistent for the first few months. Bathing, such as it was, was accomplished with baby wipes. * Fine, gritty, powdery sand was everywhere, and it got into everything -- weapons, vehicles, gear and even working its way into underwear and parts of the body where sand is never welcome. * Once they established a Forward Operating Base, they were hit with mortar or sniper fire about every night. Fortunately, the bad guys didn't get much training on how to aim the things. It was strictly "spray and pray", with Allah guiding the round to wherever he willed it to land. The only "casualty" was an unoccupied (thankfully) latrine. Some locals were employed to perform various tasks around the base, and they always wondered if the same guys who were working for them during the day were scouting targets and shooting at them at night. * Way too many male soldiers subscribed to the theory that "What happens in Iraq, stays in Iraq", and were constantly hitting on all the females. Their efforts didn't work with my wife, but a couple of gals in her unit did have to go home early -- due to pregnancy. * About once a month they could use a phone for a five minute "morale call" to phone home. It didn't help all that much and just made the homesickness a bit worse. * Occasionally there would be a memorial service for people she knew who wouldn't be going home to their loved ones. Those were tough. Needless to say, nursing school was a picnic in the park after that experience.
  5. HarryTheCat

    Where in the US do they need RNs really bad?

    I'd be a bit cautious about moving to the oil patch right now. They're predicting a bottoming out of the price of oil at around 20 bucks a barrel, and a lot of those oil operations may be forced to shut down. It just costs too much to pull it out of the ground right now versus what you can sell it for. We may see a significant outmigration from those "boom" areas in the near future, and that doesn't bode well for job stability.
  6. HarryTheCat

    TAMPA FL - Nursing Schools/R.N. Programs??

    Be very wary of some of those "for-profit" schools. They seem to be popping up all over the place, especially in Florida. Here's a link to a pdf file showing NCLEX pass rates for all of the Florida schools: http://floridasnursing.gov/forms/rn-pass-rate-4q-2015.pdf Lots of things can impact NCLEX pass rates, but anything lower than a 90% first time pass rate on a consistent basis should raise red flags. Some of the schools on your list have horrible pass rates. I would hate to see someone invest a great deal of time and money in one of these sketchy programs, only to have them end up with a mountain of debt, no license and no recourse. Buyer beware!
  7. HarryTheCat

    Is it ok to ask salary??

    It is usually a terrible idea to solicit or even entertain the idea of a counter offer. No employer wants to be placed in a position of, figuratively speaking, being "held up" for more money, and they don't want to set a precedent for others to follow. I've seen a number of instances where someone accepted a counter offer, only to find that their previous employer was simply playing for time to hire their replacement. Then six weeks later it comes as a complete surprise when HR comes in, fires them on the spot and walks them out to the parking lot.
  8. HarryTheCat

    Where can I get in ADN with dorms?

    Several four-year universities still offer ADN programs. Western Kentucky University, for example, is one that I believe still offers it, and there are dorms on campus. Although an ADN still has to pass the same NCLEX exam, it can be a bit of a career limiter. Depending on local market conditions, the competition among new nurses for jobs can be fierce, with many hospitals clearly stating a requirement or a "strong preference" for BSN grads. Many that do hire ADNs have a stipulation that you must complete your BSN within n-number of years to keep your job. Why not just get it all over with in one four-year shot?
  9. HarryTheCat

    Circumstances it's OK to quit without notice??

    In general terms, a two-week (or more, depending on circumstances) notice is common courtesy to your employer, and it is almost universally expected from a professional. The only time it would be acceptable to just hand in your badge and walk away would be if the working conditions put you or your license at risk. Two weeks isn't an eternity, and you really need to be careful about how you handle your relationship with your soon-to-be-former employer. HR people DO frequently talk to each other, often off the record, and a "burned bridge" can come back to haunt you.
  10. HarryTheCat

    What's Your Best Nursing Ghost Story?

    The best ghost story I ever heard was from an LPN who had worked in a LTC facility. One of their oldest residents, a nonagenarian we'll call "John", had been a very evil, violent man in his younger years, and had been in an out of prisons for much of his adult life. Late one night, several terrified residents and staff reported seeing (and hearing) John being dragged screaming down the hallway by several shadowy, black-clad figures. When they checked John's room, they found the old man, passed away in his bed. The shadowy figures were never seen again, and there was no explanation as to how they were able to leave the building, but for years after there was a lot of speculation among staff and residents that what they had witnessed was John's soul being carried off to Hell. Creepy.
  11. HarryTheCat

    ETOH? (definition & discussions)

    It's ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, CH3CH2OH, and in Chem it's abbreviated EtOH, but in Nursing you'll see it as ETOH, typically meaning that the pt is an alcoholic (or intoxicated).
  12. HarryTheCat


    Plus, that beautiful "artistic" tat you get at 25 ("It's my body! It's my life! I gotta be MEEE!") can start to look pretty creepy when things start to sag and wrinkle a bit.
  13. HarryTheCat

    could I get in the nursing program

    There are probably some tech schools that would accept you into an LPN or ASN program, but chose carefully. Many of them are "for-profit" schools where it's easy to get in, but the tuition is substantially higher than in public schools. I have a friend who taught (briefly) at one particular school that makes most of it's living taking government money for "job retraining" and welfare-to-work programs. Her brief teaching career ended after one semester when the state shut them down. In evaluating these schools be sure that they are approved by your state BON and accredited. Ask about the qualifications of their faculty. Also check their NCLEX pass rates for the last few years (anything below 90% for first-time test takers is a bit shaky), and their reputation in the community. Ask local employers if they hire graduates from that school. The last thing you need is to come out of some program with a shiny new diploma, loaded up with student loan debt and unable to pass the NCLEX or find a job.
  14. HarryTheCat

    New Grad RN can't find a job

    Is North Dakota still a "hot spot"? A lot of the explosive growth of the nursing job market there was tied to an upsurge in hiring in the oil industry. Back in those "boom days", when oil was over $100 per bbl, it made sense to drill there. With the spot price now below $50 per bbl, that boom may already be over.
  15. HarryTheCat

    Help with starting nursing agency

    A few of other things you might want to consider would be: 1. A lawyer, to help you set up a corporation, Sub-S, or LLC. 2. An HR outsourcing company to handle payroll, withholdings, insurance, background checks and all that other nitty-gritty stuff, at least initially while you're getting things up and running. As you grow your business you can add staff to handle these things, if it's cost effective. 3. A banker who is small-business friendly. You will probably be starting out with only whatever cash you have in the bank to get off the ground, but later on you will need a line of credit to get through the usual ups and downs of your revenue cycle. Customers don't always pay on time, but you still need to meet payroll. Be prepared to wear a lot of different hats at the outset. You'll not only be the CEO, but the CFO, Chief Marketing Officer, Sales Manager and Sales Rep (you'll be knocking on lots of doors and making a bazillion phone calls to get business!). You'll probably also do the recruiting, employee counseling, terminations, etc. The idea of a CPA to help develop your business plan is excellent advice. They can also help steer you through the tax minefields and the accounting pitfalls that come with running a business. I have also found them to be a good "sanity check" when it comes to understanding what it takes to have a successful business start-up. Just when you think you know what it will cost, double that number, then double it again. And remember that slow, steady growth is the best way to develop your business model. It's easier to tweak it when it's small, making the adjustments you need to survive. A meteoric rise is often followed by a spectacular fireball plummeting to earth. Good luck!
  16. HarryTheCat

    School isn't Accredited

    OK, let's start with the basics. What are you trying to "bridge" from and to? What accreditation does this "community college" not have? If you are in Texas, your school should be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Is this a public community college or a for-profit school? Since I assume that you're talking about nursing program, are they accredited by ACEN (formerly NLNAC) or CCNE (for BSN and higher degrees)? Are they approved by your state Board of Nursing? If they are accredited and approved, what is their NCLEX pass rate? Do employers in your area accept graduates of that school? You will need to get answers to all of these questions before you invest your hard earned cash and a good chunk of your life in a program that may or may not meet your needs and expectations. Your ultimate goal should be to arrive at the end of this step in your educational journey with a degree that allows you to sit for the licensing exam, and perhaps further your education at some future date. Bear in mind that missing one or more of these accreditations could mean that you won't be able to continue your education in the future, and that some employers will not hire you (the VA, for example, will not hire graduates of a program that was not ACEN or CCNE accredited at the time you graduated). Just my $0.02. Your mileage may vary.