Make-a-Wish Foundation

Since 1980, the Foundation has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Foundation aims to reflect the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

Since its humble beginning in granting a little boy's wish who dreams of becoming a police officer, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has grown into an organization that grants a wish of a child every 40 minutes. The organization has blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon, reaching more than 174,000 children around the world. A network of nearly 25,000 volunteers enables the Make-A-Wish Foundation to serve children with life-threatening medical conditions. Volunteers serve as wish granters, fundraisers, special events assistants and numerous other capacities.

The Foundation offers a volunteer position for every time and talent. Volunteers have a wide variety of options to get involved that match their interests and skills. Volunteer opportunities and availability vary by local chapter. All volunteers are required to complete the volunteer screening process. They must also undergo background check.

Nurses and healthcare workers volunteer their time and talent to help grant a sick child's wish and turn it to reality. Many trained nurses that have earned their certification through an online nursing degree or through campus education look forward to this type of opportunity outside of their regular working hours.

Volunteer nurses, along with doctors, parents and other healthcare workers, refer eligible patients between 2 1/2 and 18 who have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization. They gather information on the child's one true wish. Driven by the child's creativity, they then create an unforgettable experience to enrich the lives of the children and their families, but more often an entire community.

Nurses and doctors as well as other healthcare workers see a lot of benefits in volunteering at Make-A-Wish Foundation. They learn and develop certain skills while teaching others the skills they know. Volunteers also gain work experience; thus, enhancing their resume. Volunteering also creates important network contacts as one meets new people and talk to them about their ambitions, enthusiasm, and care for the community.

One of the nursing organizations who volunteer for the foundation is the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA). ONA is a professional organization for all registered nurses in Oklahoma that promotes nursing profession. They help the children with critical medical conditions make their wishes come true. They volunteer, sponsor a wish, and organize special events for the children.

Volunteering also develops the self-confidence and self-esteem of both the patient and the healthcare worker. This helps improve the health situation of the patient. More importantly, volunteers make a big difference in the life of the patients, their families and the community.

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Project Working Mom Scholarships

Many working mothers would like to go back to school and receive a higher education, but just don't feel that they have the time or the resources to make that happen., which is a website of EducationDynamics, set out to make the dream of a higher education a reality for many women with their Project Working Mom scholarships program. The program received more than 50,000 applications for full ride scholarships that would allow working mothers to go back to school. teamed up with several other resources such as American InterContinental University, Devry University, and Walden University to give away more than two million dollars in full ride scholarships. The scholarships are meant to empower women to make positive changes to their lives and the lives of their children. To date, education paths have led to online nursing degrees, culinary programs, business administration and more.

Project Working Mom scholarships are needed much more than the average person may even realize. According to statistics, children who have parents with a higher level of education usually grossly outperform the children whose parents do not have this education. While the two million in full ride scholarships will not help every mother out there get the education she needs to make a change, it will help many make positive changes in their lives and the lives of their children.

Project Working Mom scholarships are useful for the women who want to go back to school, but cannot go back full time. The American Council on Education has reported that part time students often do not qualify for financial aid; in fact, as few as 35% of part time students receive any financial aid. The Project Working Mom scholarships will help many mothers get the funding they need for even part time education. The scholarships are even helpful for those that want to get an online degree, which is ideal for many working mothers, as it allows them to continue working and caring for their children while advancing their education.

In addition to the two million dollars in full ride scholarships, Project Working Mom also features a database of $15 billion in scholarship opportunities. These scholarships will allow women to get the funding they need so they can see a higher education as a part of their life. While the Project Working Mom scholarships may only be a Band-Aid® for a larger problem, it will put many mothers through school that will hopefully go on to inspire their children to be the best they can be in the future.

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Nursing Shortage Means Career Options

People now have longer lives compared to generations ago. The explosion of the baby population will need vast medical care but nurses are insufficient

The scarcity of nurses may have a negative effect on medical care. It means an increase to the ratio of the number of patients per nurse, resulting to less attention to each patient. There will be fewer nurses to monitor the patient's vital signs and administer necessary medications. Nurses also offer a human face to a cold and sterile environment.

Based on a study on nursing made by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there were 1,891,000 full-time equivalent licensed nurses on year 2000 but there was a demand for them to nearly 2,001,500. By 2020, it was seen that there will be less FTE nurses at an estimate of 1,808,000, yet the need increases to 2,824,900. It is estimated that the country could lack nurses close to 500,000 or even 1 million. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) made a similar projection in April 2006. In a report entitled "What is Behind HRSA's Projected Supply, Demand, and Shortage of Registered Nurses?" analysts show that shortage of nurses in varying degrees will be experienced by all 50 states.

Statistics also confirmed that the number of nursing school graduates has declined significantly. The Council on Physician and Nurse Supply, an independent group of health care leaders based on University of Pennsylvania, released a statement last March 2008. They concluded that that to meet the needs of the nation's health care, there should be 30,000 additional nurses to graduate annually either from traditional campus colleges or online nursing programs. This is a 30% increase compared to the present number of annual nurse graduates.

Additionally, fewer nurses choose to teach due to low income, which also affects the figure of new nurses. More nurses prefer to work for pharmaceutical companies because they offer higher salary than hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, and other health care facilities.

Salaries and wages vary, depending on your location and specialization. To give you an idea, we listed below the median of annual salary figures from
  • Registered nurse: $66,427
  • Intensive care unit (ICU) nurse: $67,548
  • Head nurse: $85,967
  • Critical care unit (CCU) nurse: $67,016
  • Nurse midwife: $98,008
  • Home-care nurse: $65,507

Just like other professions, the nursing job is not for everyone. But if it appeals to you, this could be the right moment to take a look into it. The call for nurses will continue to increase in the coming years, so you will definitely be in demand.

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The Many Faces of Health Care Reform

The USA is considered by many to be the greatest country in the world. Because of that label, it is baffling to many how there are hundreds of thousands of people that are not insured or without access to health care because they simply cannot afford it. If you cannot afford group care insurance or if you do not have a job, becoming ill or sick can have a devastating effect on your life. Simple tests and procedures can rack up bills into the tens of thousands of dollars, and if you need surgery? You may just end up with a lifetime of debt for one week in the hospital. Countries such as Canada have nation-wide mandatory health care, and if President Obama has his way, so will the USA.

Healthcare reform is a hot topic right now, and it is a central issue that President Obama is focusing on. Change is needed, as private health insurance is expensive, and people are turned away due to lack of funds. Many young people don't believe in the need for health care, so they don't sign up for private options when presented to them. Obama proposed a public option that would ensure that every American has access to health care. As with any great change, the proposal has been met with great resistance.

President Barack Obama meeting with healthcare stakeholders in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
Universal health care means that everyone will have to pay his or her fair share. Government subsidies will exist for those who are low income, but middle-income earners will make too much money to take advantage, and could see a significant chunk taken out of their pocket book to cover health care. Older citizens are concerned that it will interfere with their Medicare, as with each new system change, obvious changes need to be made to the way things are currently running. Yet another objection is that some people really like their private health care options, and don't want to lose it to public options that may not meet their needs. As well, many, many Americans distrust the Government, as the track record has shown past issues with Medicare and the US Postal Service.

This issue really comes down to money. Businesses, both big and small, will have to find a plan that fits within their budget. Doctors and nurses are weighing in that they are not interested in the new plan and up to 45% say they may take early retirement if the new system comes into place. A doctor shortage would greatly influence the current nursing shortage, as nurses need to step in already when there is a shortage of physicians. With so many people against global health care, can the system as Obama proposed really work?

Despite objections, the USA may be in for the biggest health care overhaul in 4 decades. The Health Care Reform Bill was passed by the House of Representatives, and is currently going to the Senate for another vote. Although some say that it will never see the light of day after the Senate, the passing through the House of Representatives at a margin of 220 to 215 indicates that the naysayers may have to eat their words.

Change is a scary thing, especially when it pertains to our health. Unfortunately, without change we continue to be stuck with the same issues that we've dealt with year after year. Time can only tell what scope the new Health Care Reform Bill will have on the USA.

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Transforming care at the bedside: A new approach to nursing

There are many, many people with stressful jobs, but it is difficult to compare a Corporate CEO's stress with that of a Registered Nurse. Yes, the stress is different, as one deals with money and the other deals with life and death. The real contrast? That CEO may need the assistance of the nurse to save his life at some point in the future, whereas the nurse will never have the same sort of need for the CEO. Yes, our nurses are vital to our well being. They hold our hands through procedures, they assist in the delivering of our babies, and they take over completely in lieu of a doctor's presence. Unfortunately for the CEO, and for many patients in hospitals right now, nurses are pulled in so many different directions that it has become impossible for them to keep up. Job stress, long hours, and unmanageable constraints on their time have resulted in a major nursing shortage and a high turnover rate. A complete restructuring of the nursing profession is long overdue. It is obvious that the RN career path must change, and Transforming Care at the Bedside is the solution.

Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) is attempting to change the current state of nursing today. TCAB is a three-year training program that will be undertaken by nurses around the country. Through training and support, RNs will focus more time on their patients and work to maintain job satisfaction over a long period of time.

The nursing shortage has reached critical levels due to many factors. The aging population of nurses is larger than the influx of new recruits, as the inhibiting costs and high enrollment rates in schools outweighs the ability to take in students interested in earning their nursing degree. Once on the job, long hours and an overwhelming work load can take its toll. TCAB began as an initial brainstorming project in a medical-surgical unit. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the goal was to find and implement different ways for nurses to do their jobs. The eventual hope was that the unit could increase job satisfaction to the point that there would not be such a high turn over rate. What began in 2003 as an initial one-unit project has expanded to over 200 units across the USA.

TCAB uses a multi-tiered approach to finding new and innovative solutions in health care. Taking ideas from nurses, educators, and administrators, TCAB's focus is on change. Rapid test cycles, discussions as to what works and what doesn't, and involving the entire staff is what creates a new work environment.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant of $732,000 funds the initial changes, and allows for the freedom of implementing new policies and procedures in hospitals. A massive retraining and overhaul would cost a great deal of money to each individual hospital, and the grant puts much-needed funds to good work. Nurses that are currently in residence are retrained and encouraged to voice their opinions. New recruits are then given tools and information to begin their career as a nurse, learning to do things the new way and not fall into old traps.

TCAB may be the key to turning the current nursing shortage around and providing all RNs with a better work environment. It is the hope that a patient focused approach will increase the satisfaction of both the nurse and the patient.

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Top Nursing Schools in the United States

An individual who wants to pursue a nursing degree should make a thorough research about the school he wants to go to. When selecting a nursing school, one should consider his goals, the type of nursing career he wants to practice, and school accreditation.

To better help you in choosing the right nursing school, we listed the top 10 nursing schools according to U.S. News & World Report. The ranking is based on several criteria including students' standardized test scores, tuition fees, faculty resources, graduation rates and alumni donation rates.

1. University of Washington

Since 1984, the U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Washington as the top undergraduate nursing school in the country due to its experiences and renowned faculty, as well as the opportunities for research and community partnerships.

2. University of California-San Francisco

The University of California San Francisco is one of the top undergraduate nursing programs in the US because of the amount of research funding it receives, the diversity of their programs and the large number of specialty areas it offers. The UCSF School of Nursing adheres to the four primary goals of nursing education: teaching, research, patient care and public service, which enables them to remain at the forefront of nursing education.

3. University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is ranked third among the top undergraduate nursing program because of its long history of excellence in education. Their School of Nursing offers technologically advanced approach to learning specializing in biobehaviorial and health sciences as well as family and community health.

4. Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Located in Baltimore, MD, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHUSON) is one of the nation's oldest and pre-eminent schools for nursing education in the country. The Johns Hopkins School of Nursing aims to provide leadership to improve health care and advance the nursing profession through education, research, practice, and service. JHUSON is also one of the recipients of research funding in nursing from the National Institutes of Health.

5. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Founded in 1817, the University of Michigan - School of Nursing in Ann Arbor, MI is the state’s oldest university. It is one of the original eight schools known as the Public Ivy.

6. University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (School of Nursing)

The University of North Carolina - School of Nursing located in Chapel Hill, NC claims to be the oldest public university in the US. It is also one of the original eight schools known as the Public Ivy.

7. Oregon Health and Science University

Formed in 1974, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is a public university that combines state dentistry, medicine, and nursing programs into a single center.

8. University of Illinois - Chicago

The University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC) is the largest university in the Chicago area. UIC is the second member of the University of Illinois system serving approximately 25,000 students within 15 colleges, including the nation's largest medical school.

9. University of Maryland - Baltimore

The University of Maryland - School of Nursing was founded in 1889 by Nightingale Fund graduate Louisa Parsons. It is known for innovative educational programs that address urgent health care needs nationally and internationally.

10. University of Pittsburgh - Main Campus

Founded on April 6, 1939, the University of Pittsburgh - School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, PA educates nurses for the increasing demanding environment through comprehensive curriculum combining rigorous academic work, intensive clinical experiences, and research.

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H1N1: Is this Vaccine right for you?

The word Swine Flu, or H1N1: Mention the name and you will strike fear in the hearts of people around the world. More frightening to some than the worldwide recession, H1N1 is known to be quick to spread, is extremely contagious, and on occasion, deadly in otherwise healthy individuals. In the midst of vaccines being distributed and panic over a vaccination shortage, many are asking themselves whether or not they should get the shot at all. One thing is for certain; it's difficult to find straight answers unless you look in the right places.

If there is a flu shot available each year, why is the H1N1 vaccine so controversial? For one, the regular flu is not considered to be a pandemic. Although thousands of people are said to die from the regular strains of flu each year, there are many more dying from H1N1. When an illness strikes the general public as hard as this one has, controversy and speculation run rampant.

Vaccinations are a hot subject to begin with, but few have met with the resistance that has the H1N1 vaccine has. Medical experts state that it is similar to the regular flu shot in that it was created the same way, but it has come under fire due to the quick production of vaccine. Conspiracy theories have run rampant, and if you look Swine Flu Vaccines up on the Internet you will find people discussing outlandish tales as to how the government is trying to kill off the weak and those with medical conditions in order to ramp up for the new health care programs. Misinformation has bred hysteria.

One of the reasons that there is such a level of anxiousness with regard to this vaccine is that until H1N1, the Government has always charged the general public for a regular flu shot. Due to the spread and higher rate of complications, this vaccine is offered for free. Yet another reason is that the elderly have always been the focus on the flu shot, whereas the H1N1 vaccine is being given to the young as a high priority group.

Is this vaccine for you? The Government is urging people, especially those in high-risk categories, to get the vaccination. There are many though, who are passing this vaccine by in favor of taking their chances with the disease. To make an informed decision, you must do your own research. Visit reputable web sites, not blogs or sites posting people's opinions. Sites such as the Mayo clinic and your local Public Health portals will give you the most up to date and accurate information. Ask your doctor or registered nurse for advice. Up until recently, some doctors were on the fence as to whether the shot was necessary. As the vaccine has become available, most are urging their patients to get the shot.

The bottom line is this: Young, healthy people have died from H1N1. Not all of these people, children included, have had underlying conditions that would make them susceptible. It is difficult to know how hard H1N1 will hit you, as the majority of cases have been mild. Only you can make the decision as to which risk is greater: the Vaccination or the Swine Flu itself?

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