Three Beach Reads That Pack Career Power

Lori Johnston | July 1, 2011

With the “Twilight” and “The Hunger Games” series over, let’s face it, we all know enough about vampires and postapocalyptic worlds and can focus on some career reading this summer.

Slip one of these books into your beach bag this long holiday weekend, and get inspired about your career or furthering your education.

These authors make it easy to soak up both the rays and important information about earning a first-time degree or advanced degree to move up the ladder professionally. Just imagine what were to happen if Katniss was to combine her Hunger Games experience with a college education – she would be even more unstoppable!

How to Get Any Job: Life Launch and Re-Launch for Everyone Under 30 (Or How to Avoid Living in Your Parents’ Basement) by Donald Asher (Ten Speed Press)

Asher, a career consultant who is author of several books, encourages people to think about their “top five issues in this world” as part of considering a career path and gives the low-down on education options, recognizing that career paths can change over time. Plus, there’s a special chapter on summer jobs.

Bossypants by Tina Fey (Reagan Arthur Books)

It’s your typical career book, but Fey’s hilarious memoir shows what it’s like to succeed in a male-dominated industry, working at SNL and having her own Emmy Award-winning show, “30 Rock,” and how she balances being a mom in show business. You get all that, and be prepared to hide under your oversized beach hat because you may be embarrassed at how much Fey’s essays are making you laugh.

The MBA Reality Check by Evan Forester & David Thomas (Prentice Hall Press)

If you’re considering earning your MBA, you probably need a summer vacation from all of that research. This book presents the MBA pursuit from the mindset of how you can be a compelling candidate to a college, written in a way where you feel like you’re chatting with a friend – albeit a very experienced, knowledgable friend who is an educational consultant. Forster’s insider’s look into getting into a business school is fueled with stories of applicants, making it an easy summer read.

Let us know if you’ve found other career- or education-related books or biographies that have inspired or informed you to take your next career step!

-Lori Johnston

The Never-Ending Nursing Education Debate

Robyn Tellefsen | April 5, 2011

Here’s the funny thing about the nursing profession: with three very different education paths to take, you’ll end up with the same job no matter which one you choose. Whether you earn a diploma in nursing, an associate degree in nursing (ADN), or a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), once you pass the National Certification Licensing Examination (NCLEX), you can become an RN. Are all nursing education paths equal?

“The BSN is better.”
The American Nurses Association, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching say no. In line with its latest nursing education study, the Carnegie Foundation recommends that the BSN become the entry-level qualification for nurses – no nursing diploma or ADN program options in sight. And, similar to teachers, RNs should be required to earn a master’s degree within 10 years of licensure.

With more than 60 percent of new nurses being educated at community colleges, pro-BSN professionals say this translates into the lion’s share of nurses being less qualified for advanced education opportunities. All of the advanced practice nursing specialties – clinical nurse specialists, nurse anesthetists, nurse-midwives, and nurse practitioners – require a master of science in nursing (MSN) for entry. And perhaps more to the point, without an MSN, a nurse cannot move into a faculty position – a key issue, given that nursing school applicants are being turned away because of the nursing faculty shortage, which in turn perpetuates the nursing shortage.

In addition, these nursing organizations cite research that shows that lower patient mortality rates, fewer medication errors, and positive care outcomes are linked to nurses trained at the BSN and MSN levels.

“The ADN is essential.”
The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing take a decidedly different stance. In a recent policy brief, the AACC contends that both ADN and BSN programs teach students the competencies necessary to become an RN, as demonstrated by comparable pass rates on the NCLEX as well as hiring statistics. Plus, ADN programs educate the majority of RNs in rural settings, and they also provide the greatest number of minority RNs. Minorities in nursing are instrumental when it comes to understanding and addressing the care needs of our diverse population.

These nursing organizations also point out the lack of a valid correlation between nursing education level and patient outcomes. In other words, a bigger degree does not necessarily make a better nurse.

What’s a nurse to do?
Is advanced nursing education valuable for its own sake? Will you be a better nurse if you get a bachelor’s degree instead of an associate degree?

Obviously, there are no easy answers, but whichever nursing education program you’re leaning toward, there are a few key considerations to factor into your decision. Make sure the program is accredited, and that the NCLEX pass rate is high. If you choose an ADN program, look for a community college that has an articulation agreement with a four-year nursing school so that you can seamlessly transition into a BSN program if you choose. Look into RN-to-BSN programs… or bypass the BSN altogether by enrolling in an RN-to-MSN program. You might even be able to get tuition assistance if you continue your nursing education after you become an RN.

For now, you can still choose your own nursing education adventure – so choose wisely!

-Robyn Tellefsen

I’ve lived in New York City all my life, and the eight years I lived in Brooklyn were some of the best. There’s one thing I’ll never miss about Brooklyn, though, and if you’re a city dweller, you know exactly what I’m talking about – parking. I have, however, managed to parlay my less-than-fun parking experiences into a few words of wisdom about finding the right college. Join me for the ride, won’t you?

It might take a while.
If you live in the city, being on time for a doctor’s appointment, dinner reservations, or a playdate requires you to factor in extra time to find a parking spot. There are no parking lots, and friends blessed with driveways are few and far between. Fight the urge to drive back home, and resign yourself to the fact that you’ll have to take a few trips around the block before you get what you want.

In the same way, finding the right school doesn’t happen in an instant. You’ll definitely want to give yourself plenty of time to get there, and it may require a few trips around college campuses before you find what you’re looking for. You might not find what you want right away, but don’t give up and go home – there’s a good college spot out there waiting for you.

Looks can be deceiving.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about finding parking in the city, it’s that what looks too good to be true usually is. Chances are that the vacant spot I see up the block is not a legal parking spot, but a driveway, a hydrant, or – my favorite – an illegal spot because of alternate side of the street parking regulations. It’s also possible that a couple of cars did a lousy parking job and, consequently, the open spot is too small for me. Grrrr.

Sometimes, all you have to do is look at a college brochure and you’re ready to find your place there. The campus looks idyllic, the school offers the major you want, and the location is fab. It’s perfect from afar – but there’s a chance that what looks like a great school really isn’t for you. So before you park yourself there, take a tour to see the school up close and decide if it’s really a good fit.

You should never sell yourself short.
Since parking is a pain near your friend’s apartment, and you always seem to get to a spot five seconds too late, you decide to just bite the bullet and park five blocks away. It’s doubtful you’ll get anything better. But then, after walking all that way (in the freezing rain), you see a spot right in front of her apartment. Oh, the agony.

Your grades have never been the best, so it doesn’t seem likely that you’ll get into the college of your dreams. Applying feels like a waste of time and experience tells you it’s better not to get your hopes up. Getting in to a “reach school” is far from a sure thing, of course, but how will you know what you can achieve unless you try?

When you do find the right school, take some time to revel in the joy of a mission well-accomplished. When my husband and I found a legal parking spot right across the street from our dinner reservations in Manhattan on Valentine’s Day, we spent at least five minutes celebrating the victory – before we even got out of the car.

Rest assured that you will reach your college destination sooner or later. Until then, try to relax and enjoy the ride!

-Robyn Tellefsen

Learn Online While Serving in the Military

Lori Johnston | May 27, 2010

As Memorial Day approaches, we are so thankful for those of you who have served and are serving in the military, for the sacrifices that you make for our country. But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice a college education.

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