4 Popular Specialties to Consider for Your Nursing Career

by South University 16 April 2014

Registered Nurses pursuing a master’s degree will find that there is no shortage of options for specializations, from education to family practice. Here are 4 popular specialties to consider as you plan your future in nursing.

Nurse1) Nurse Practitioner

Nurse Practitioners can practice primary care or focus on more specialized areas. For example, Family Nurse Practitioners provide services to individuals across the lifespan, from infant to adult, whereas Adult Health Nurse Practitioners focus on a smaller segment of the population. As a Nurse Practitioner, your daily work may involve performing routine check-ups, examining lab results, assessing existing conditions, promoting overall health, writing prescriptions and establishing treatment plans for patients.

If you’re interested in direct patient care, a career as a Nurse Practitioner is an excellent choice, with a 34% employment growth projected by the BLS for 2012 to 2022. The majority of Nurse Practitioners work with a physician, but others maintain an independent practice. The BLS lists the 2012 median annual salary for Nurse Practitioners as $89,960.

2) Nurse Educator

Nurse Educators can have rich and rewarding careers combining clinical expertise with a passion for teaching. As a Nurse Educator, you can play a pivotal role in mentoring and shaping the future generation of nurses, preparing them to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing healthcare industry. In addition to providing training at various education levels, you may develop, evaluate and revise curricula as well as conduct research.

In 2010, according to discovernursing.com, 56% of schools had vacancies for nursing faculty. This trend continues today, as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing estimates that, last year, 80,000 capable, prospective nursing students were turned away due to a shortage of educators. According to explorehealthcareers.org, the average annual salary of a Nurse Educator is $78,242.

3) Nurse Administrator

Nurse Administrators and Managers are critical in designing healthcare delivery systems, recruiting and supervising healthcare staff, making policy and financial decisions, promoting improvements in patient care, and incorporating new technology into the delivery of care. As a Nurse Administrator, you’ll also work to optimize interactions between patients, doctors and nurses as well as to facilitate communication between departments.

As the need for RNs increases—with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 19% growth rate from 2012 to 2022, so does the need for people to manage this growing workforce. Thus, the BLS estimates that the employment of medical and health services managers will grow 23% from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the 11% average across all occupations, with an annual median salary of $88,580. With an education focused on nurse administration, you may be prepared to work as a patient care unit coordinator, nurse case manager, senior manager or nurse unit manager.

4) Nurse Informaticist

Individuals working in Nurse Informatics combine their nursing knowledge and communications skills with a knack for technology and information structure. As a Nurse Informaticist, you’ll have opportunities to develop, implement, manage and evaluate operational data and information systems as well as collect and analyze patient data with the goal of improving clinical care. As a trusted expert, you may also be required to communicate your findings and train other staff members in the use of these systems.

Nurse Informaticists are typically members of the information systems or technology departments at hospitals, healthcare consulting firms or research organizations. Alternatively, you may be placed in the research or education arm of your institution. According to explorehealthcareers.org, the typical salary for Nurse Informatists ranges from $79,000-$83,675. The need for these individuals is expected to increase in direct proportion to innovations in healthcare technology.

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ExploreHealthCareers.org: Nurse Educator | Nurse Practitioner | Nurse Informatics

How to Foster Collaborative Relationships with Your Colleagues

by South University 15 April 2014

A positive work environment is the basis of any successful enterprise. Colleagues who collaborate effectively are better able to address the needs of the business and overcome their daily challenges at work. Not all co-workers immediately form close relationships; sometimes finding the right mesh among the staff takes work.


To foster positive and professional relationships among colleagues, follow these steps for maximizing the potential of the group through a well-functioning collective effort.

Learn about Your Colleagues' Work

Getting a sense of your coworkers’ responsibilities, working style, professional strengths and areas in which they wish to grow can be a good starting point for a relationship and can help you be more appreciative of their work. Shadowing your colleagues (of course, with your supervisor’s approval) is one way to get a better sense of their schedules and required tasks. This familiarization will foster appreciation and give each employee a view of the context of their respective responsibilities and shared goals. This is also an excellent opportunity to learn ways in which you can help others and who you should turn to when you need assistance in different areas.

Earn the Respect of Your Peers

Become someone who your colleagues can rely on if or when they need support. If you commit to a deadline or project, be sure not only to act on your promise, but also to follow through in a timely manner. Conversely, if you know something is not possible for you to do, admit it and explain why, asking for help if you need it. Another aspect of building trust is sharing information. Maintaining regular and open communication with one another will help to pave the way for a trusting, honest relationship.

Attend Social Gatherings

Socializing after business hours is an effective way to create a friendlier and more effective workplace relationship. Getting to know the person, rather than just the employee, will open new avenues of communication and give you a better understanding of what you have in common.

If social gatherings or happy hours are not regular occurrences on your team, talk to your supervisor about scheduling a team-building activity. For example, you can suggest a charity event that your company and your teammates can sponsor or help support. By participating in a community event or social gathering, employees will become more comfortable with each other overall, with the added benefit of discovering new ways of relating to each other while on the clock.


Building Good Work Relationships
Fostering Positive Professional Relationships in the Workplace
Seven Characteristics of Successful Work Relationships 
Building Positive Relationships at Work

Exploring Criminal Justice Topics: Restorative Justice

by South University 4 April 2014

For most people in the United States, justice usually can be simplified to mean that an individual is given a fair punishment for a wrong that they have committed. Typically, this justice is delivered through the criminal justice and legal system, with emotions and personal feelings considered outside the purview of providing justice. However, many believe that this approach to criminal justice is lacking. One alternative theory that attempts to address these concerns is known as restorative justice.

Criminal JusticeWhat is Restorative Justice?

Restorative justice is a philosophy that makes the case that justice should be more than simply punishing a wrongdoing. Instead of focusing on making the criminal pay for their crime, restorative justice seeks to address the harm caused to the victim by requiring retribution that actually benefits the victim.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two is that traditional justice focuses on determining which laws have been broken and the established appropriate punishment, while restorative justice focuses on who has been hurt by an action, and what actions can be taken to counteract the harm that has been caused.

Restorative Justice in the US

Mediation is one of the most common examples of restorative justice in the United States. In some civil or criminal cases, the victim and the criminal can meet with a trained mediator. During these sessions, the victim can express the ways in which they have been hurt, and the criminal can explain the mindset that led them to commit their crime. While an explanation is not an excuse, understanding someone’s actions and motivation can aid in the healing process.

Often times, mediation is used as an alternative to a formal court proceeding, which can save both parties time and money. However, most importantly for restorative justice, this mediation can reduce the emotional hardship experienced by the victim and even, in some cases, the perpetrator.

Incorporating Multiple Approaches to Justice

Restorative justice is seen by many as a more holistic approach to the justice system. Instead of simply focusing on punishing wrongdoers, restorative justice works to address the mental and emotional needs of victims and criminals. If exercised correctly, restorative justice can reduce recidivism and make society a better place in the long run. Despite the potential benefits, restorative justice is just one philosophy on criminal justice that may not always be applicable, and it is important to note that, in many legal proceedings in the United States, it is not the primary objective.

Build your skills and find your calling in the field of criminal justice. Explore our programs today!

The Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

by South University 1 April 2014

Job interviews aren’t just a chance for the interviewer to choose the right candidate for the job. It’s also a chance for you to decide if the company and job is right for you. So when you’re given the chance to ask questions at the end of the interview, don’t pass up this golden opportunity to determine if this is the right fit for all involved.

Interview QuestionsThe Value of Asking Questions

If through the course of the preceding interview you’ve determined you are interested in the position, don’t squander the opportunity. Not asking questions might paint you as uninterested in the employer’s eyes, according to a Forbes article. Plus, the article continues, the right questions will show that you’ve done your homework, you're serious about the position, and you’re “savvy enough to take the additional opportunity to sell yourself.”

Top Questions to Ask

Questions that Show Your Interest

Hopefully through body language you’ve shown your interest in the job throughout the interview, but don’t let this last chance pass you by. Ask questions that demonstrate that you want the job, and that you can already picture yourself with it. Monster.com suggests questions like:

• What is the most important thing for me to accomplish once I’m in the job?
• This job sounds like something I’d like to do – do you have any concerns about how the job responsibilities match my experience and qualifications?
• How can I be successful in this position and how will I be judged?

Questions that Show Your Knowledge of Company

By demonstrating that you’ve researched not only the industry, but also this particular company, you show that you are proactive and don’t expect anything to be handed to you. These types of questions are important ones to ask:

• Why did you (expand in this area, close this division, etc.)?
• You’ve accomplished X in the last three years. Where do you believe future improvements will come from?

Questions that Hone In on the Company Culture

Above all, you want to make sure the company is a good fit for you. Before your interview, consider how you work best. Think back on previous jobs – what did you like best about previous supervisors? Do you need a hands-on manager, or do you like to be left alone to do your own thing? Ask these questions to determine if the company culture meshes with you:

• What is your managerial style?
• How receptive are you to employee feedback?
• How would you describe your company culture?

Questions about the Previous Position Holder

Asking about the previous employee will clue you in on whether this is a company that promotes its employees, or if perhaps there is some sort of disconnect between what is expected of employees and what can be realistically accomplished within the job. Ask the interviewer questions along these lines:

• How did this position become available?
• How long was the previous employee in this position?

A job interview is the time for you to assess if you’re a fit at the company, both for your career and the employer. Asking the right questions is the ideal way during your job search for you to gather the information you need to make this all-important decision.

A History of Graduation Regalia

by South University 28 March 2014

Every graduating class comes together to celebrate and participate in the ritual of earning a diploma or degree, and a large part of that celebration is the traditional academic dress that goes along with the ceremony. The rituals involved in education help elevate academics, even above their practical value. The shared experience of walking across the stage in a cap and gown helps break down social barriers and brings graduates together. But, where did these customs come from?

Graduation ImageThe Beginnings of Graduation Regalia

As with many traditions, graduation regalia began due to practical considerations. In the 12th century, the first Universities were formed. As completely new ventures, these Universities did not have campuses or even a single centralized building. Instead, most classes were taught at nearby churches. Many prospective students were studying for a clerical position, so it made sense to use the churches as places of both worship and learning. The downside was the heating situation.

Old churches may look stunning and imposing, but many of them also possess drafts and poor insulation. The high ceilings, poorly sealed windows and lack of fireplaces made for pretty chilly classrooms. Graduation regalia as it is seen today is thought to stem from the adoption of robes to keep warm. Many students wore floor length gowns to help combat the cold.

Modernization and Reading Today's Regalia

Today, students still wear traditional academic garb in honor of their antecedents. Depending on where a university is located, there are different traditions surrounding a cap and gown. In the U.S. it is common for gowns to close in the front, allowing some institutions to relax their dress code for graduation ceremonies. In Europe, most universities leave the gowns open, and students must wear formal garb underneath their cap and gown.

In the U.S. the graduation regalia has specific codes, with different colors assigned to different areas and place of study. The degree color is found on the trim on the hood, while the university color is found on the hood lining. Some examples include:

• Copper for Economics
• Gold for Science
• Brown for Fine Arts
• Light Blue for Education
• and many more!

In Europe, there is no central body to regulate university colors, so the styles and modes of dress vary from school to school.

In addition to colors, modern cap and gown designs sometimes include different details depending on the level of the degree obtained. Students earning a master's degree may wear gowns with oblong shaped sleeves, while Doctoral students may wear gowns with bell sleeves. This differences show at a glance the levels of each student.