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The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions is comprised of diverse health care disciplines, including nursing, health care administration, athletic training, public health and health care informatics. We are united by the common goal of training the next generation of health care professionals and leaders to effectively address health care challenges. The content of this blog includes perspectives on current health care topics, discussion about health care trends, a showcase of successful alumni and faculty and posts about our passion for our respective fields.
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By Sarah Schroyer, MSN, RN, CHPN, NE-BC, CNE
Faculty, College of Nursing

Every March 19, nurses worldwide who earn and maintain the highest credentials in their chosen specialty are honored. Certified Nurses’ Day was created in 2008 by a collaboration between the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and the American Nurses Association (ANA). Nursing, as health care in general, has become increasingly complex. Certified Nurses play an important role in assuring high standards of care for patients and many health care facilities encourage their nurses toward certification. The certification process is voluntary and requires extensive education and knowledge in the specialty area. Becoming certified also requires a personal commitment on the part of the nurse.

How does a nurse obtain a certification? The ANCC is one of the largest credentialing centers for nurses. They offer certification in specialties such as nursing informatics, medical-surgical, pain management, nurse executive and national healthcare disaster. Certifications may also be related to specific nursing organizations. For example, a nurse can obtain a Certified Hospice and Palliative Nurse designation through the Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA) and Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC). The HPCC’s Why Certification? site provides excellent reasons adaptable to all specialties on why nurses should consider certification:

  • A comprehensive review of the current body of knowledge for which the hospice and palliative professional is accountable
  • Participation with and learning from other colleagues in review courses or study groups
  • Sharpening of skills and knowledge in areas not utilized daily
  • Recommitment to excellence and expertise in the area of practice
  • Increased competence and confidence in practice
  • Recognition by peers and others in the field through credentialing and ongoing use of the title
  • Future employment possibilities as certification become the expectation of employers of hospice and palliative care professionals

As a nurse who is currently certified in three specialty areas, I do not look forward to Certified Nurses’ Day each year in hopes of praise over what I have accomplished. Instead, I see March 19 as a day to promote the importance of becoming certified to my fellow nurses. We need to support and encourage each other through this often daunting process. If you are certified, reach out to your peers and offer to help them prepare for the test. If you are not certified, check with your organization. Some organizations will help with the cost of certification. To promote Certified Nurses’ Day, the ANA is offering 25 percent off certification exams purchased through March 31 (of course there are additional requirements) (ANA, 2019).

If you’re ready to advance your career and develop in-demand skills, then consider completing the RN to BSN online program from Grand Canyon University. You can discover more about this degree by clicking the Request More Information button on this page or visiting the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions website.

References:

American Nurses Association (ANA). (2019). Home page. Retrieved from https://www.nursingworld.org/ana/

Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center. (nd). Why Certification? Retrieved from https://advancingexpertcare.org/why-certification

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By Teddy Ogilvie
Student, College of Nursing and Health Care Professionals

This March is National Athletic Training Month. We want to promote and celebrate the profession of athletic training (AT) around the world. A proud sponsor of National Athletic Training Month is the National Athletic Training Association (NATA). NATA has more than 45,000 members world-wide and this month we want to celebrate all AT’s and their work. This year’s slogan is, “ATs Are Health Care.” ATs are not only health care providers to athletes, but also provide care to soldiers, workers and performers.

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By Chantelle Ballard
MPH Student, College of Nursing and Health Professions

It’s World Kidney Day and one of the best ways to highlight the importance of your kidneys is to become educated about their actual functions. Learning how to care for two of your most essential organs properly will benefit you in more ways than one. So in honor of World Kidney Day, here are the three overall functions of your kidneys and the simple ways you can help to keep them in optimal shape.

Kidneys Act as a Personal Waste System

One of the primary functions of our kidneys is to remove waste and excess substances from your blood and digestion system. Your kidneys not only eliminates waste but acts to maintain balance in fluid intake, mineral and nutritious substances, as well as blood regulation.

What you can do: Maintain a healthy intake of fluids, ideally making sure you’re getting at least 2-3 liters of water per day (CDC, 2005). This will allow for your kidneys properly filter out any toxins or waste product from your circulatory systems.

Kidneys Help to Regulate Blood Flow

Your kidneys also function as a regulatory organ, which maintains function needed to circulate blood through our arteries properly (NIDDK, 2018). Over time, however, if not regulated, high blood pressure (HBP) can cause corrosion to those arteries, causing weakening or narrowing. This can ultimately lead to kidney failure, with HBP being the second leading cause for malfunction.

What you can do: According to the American Heart Association, the best way to prevent kidney failure is to manage your blood pressure (AHA, n.d.). Kidney failure happens over a length of time and can be avoided. Keep a record or your blood pressure numbers, eat a balanced diet, limit sodium intake and exercise regularly for optimal health.

Kidneys Produce Essential Hormones Needed for Cell Production & Controlling Fluid Levels

Kidneys produce two important hormones: erythropoietin & renim. Erythropoietin acts as a stimulus and controlling agent for the production of red blood cells, while renim helps to controls the balance of water and sodium levels, and also regulates blood pressure levels (NIDDK, 2018).

What you can do: Limit your use of pain medications and opioids. Many people suffer from kidney stones and other pains that may increase their use of medications. However, Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen and aspirin, can over time damage the function of your kidneys and hinder the production of these hormones (Dixit, Doan, Kirschner & Dexit, 2010).

Hopefully, for this National Kidney Day, this post has given insight on the functions of your kidneys and what you can do to keep them in the best shape as possible!

The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions helps students prepare for rewarding careers in the healthcare field. Learn more by visiting our website or contacting us using the green Request More Information button at the top of the page.

References:

Dixit, M., Doan, T., Kirschner, R., & Dixit, N. (2010). Significant acute kidney injury due to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: Inpatient detting. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI),3(4), 1279-1285. doi: 10.3390/ph3041279

How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Damage or Failure. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/health-threats-from-high-blood-pressure/how-high-blood-pressure-can-lead-to-kidney-damage-or-failure

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2018). Your Kidneys & How They Work. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/kidneys-how-they-work

Plain Water, the Healthier Choice. (2019, February 4). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/data-statistics/plain-water-the-healthier-choice.html

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By Chantelle Ballard
Student, College of Nursing and Health Professions in the Master of Public Health Program

What does depression look like? How do you put a face on an emotion that is often masked by subtle abnormalities, but not always directly expressed? As health care professionals, our number one priority for individuals is to maintain their highest level of well-being. The capacity for which we measure health is not limited to just the physical being, but the state of mind as well. The importance of mental health has become widespread in health education. Now it is more vital than before that we continue to grow and develop our understanding of the complexities that often warp our mental wellness. So, what exactly, is depression?

Depression can be defined as a pathological, constant and pervasive state of mood (Gelenberg & Hopkins, 2007). According to authors Richardson and Adams (2018), signs of depression include changes in everyday behaviors like a decrease or increase in appetite, memory fog, sleep disturbances, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and a decrease in energy (Richardson & Adams, 2018).

Patients who are dealing with chronic illnesses are also more at risk and likely to develop depression (Richardson & Adams, 2018). Depression can also begin as a string of events that turns into an overwhelming mental breakdown.

Picture this: an individual dealing with an ongoing illness may also begin developing financial issues due to time off work or increasing medical bills. Over time, the illness progresses and bills begin to stack up. Then, outside of health concerns, they may also begin having family issues and feelings of isolation may arise. This individual may begin to experience anxiety, exhibit erratic behavior or show signs of total sadness.

Depression, however, can also manifest as a feeling of emptiness, void of any emotion at all. Therefore, it is important that we learn to pinpoint the deviations in an individual’s behavior and understand what their form of depression looks like, this can then assist your health care professional formulate a tailored treatment plan.

Other signs to look out for in everyday encounters with individuals are major deviances in behaviors that are not perceived as normal for that individual. If an individual is usually upbeat and positive and over time, becomes reclusive, inhibiting feelings of anger or begins to view things in a negative light, then the individual may be showing signs of a major cognitive change or depressive symptoms.

It is essential to not only care for individuals with the best of our abilities and skill but also to get to know them. Pay attention to the things they talk about, how they carry themselves, habitual behaviors that may suddenly or even gradually change. Something as simple as being attentive to patient behaviors and actively engaging with those you care for may make a significant difference in the type of care they receive.

Every individual will not be able to express what they are feeling or is willing to be open about depression. As health care professionals, we must be able to bridge the gap, to start the conversation, and be attentive to not just their physical care, but mental health care as well.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression please connect with your primary care physician. You may also call Mentalhelp.net at 1-866-277-8525 where someone will answer 24/7. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Your education at Grand Canyon University combines modern knowledge and technical skills with Christ’s wisdom. If a career in health care management is your calling in life, click on the Request More Information button at the top of our website. You can apply today for admission to our Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration degree program, offered by the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions.

References

Gelenberg, A.J. & Hopkins, H.S. (2007). Assessing and treating depression in primary care medicine.

The American Journal of Medicine, 120(2), 105 – 108.

Luann Richardson, Susie Adams (2018). Cognitive deficits in patients with depression, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 14(6), 437-443. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2018.03.006.

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Christian values have long played an instrumental role in health care. In fact, during the Middle Ages, monasteries were known for operating hospital institutions. Christ’s message of love and compassion aligns perfectly with the health care field. Your Christian faith influences all aspects of your life, so it only makes sense that your Christian values would influence your career in health care administration.

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By Dulce Ruelas
Faculty, College of Nursing and Health Care Professionals

February is Go Red for Women from the American Heart Association. This is a movement to inspire, mobilize and potentially change lifestyles around heart disease. Did you know that there are one in three women in the United States that are living with some form of cardiovascular disease (American Heart Association, 2019)? There are many preventative measures that we can take throughout our life.  As a woman and teaching public health it is important for me to share with you that the more we know, the better opportunities we provide ourselves to be in better health. We should know the symptoms of a heart attack and stroke. We must be aware if we are living with heart disease.

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Taught by experts in their respective fields and practicing nurses, the online RN to BSN program from Grand Canyon University is designed for registered nurses who are ready to take their career to the next level. If you’re interested in furthering your education and developing in-demand nursing competencies, then continue reading to learn some of the top skills that nursing employers look for in candidates.

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