Licensure Criteria: Illinois
Obtaining a Registered Professional Nurse (RN) licensure is the primary step in the transition from a student to a BSN graduate. In Illinois, the major requirement for becoming an RN is the educational background. BSN or any equivalent degree is a must for passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLE). With a four-year university degree, I am eligible for obtaining RN which can be considered the basic type of license in nursing.
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Passing the NCLE is the second criteria for getting the RN license. It is a multiple-choice, computer-based test meant to check applicants’ knowledge in various areas including care environment, patient safety, health promotion, psychosocial and physiological integrity, and so on. In case a person fails the examination, he or she may use the performance report to fill the gaps in knowledge. However, it will be possible to take the NCLE again only after three months (National Council of States Board of Nursing, 2017).
Before getting a license, a nurse should provide a completed fingerprint card and criminal history record which can be obtained in any local law enforcement agency. A background free of convictions, crime history, and arrests is an important licensure criterion in Illinois. The given requirement allows the Board of Nursing to ensure greater patient safety and quality of health care.
Job Search: Chicago
Newly graduated RN at Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)
The RN will be responsible for performing an individualized, age-specific assessment of patients, and providing nursing diagnoses to them. Candidate should demonstrate a whole range of knowledge in safety, planning, implementation of interventions, patient education and communication, and so on. To apply for the position, RNs should have the BSN or an equivalent degree, as well as a valid RN license issued by the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation. Additionally, such personal qualities as flexibility, adaptability, and critical thinking skills are welcomed by the RIC.
Dialysis nurse at Fresenius Medical Care (FMC)
The nurse will be responsible for the performance of chronic hemodialysis therapy, compliance with professional standards and FMS policies. The basic job requirements include the BSN degree and a current RN licensure. However, although new graduates are welcomed, the organization will prefer those candidates who have at least one-year experience in medical-surgical nursing, hemodialysis therapy, and ICU. Potential employees will also be required to complete a training program in hemodialysis, ICD – 9 coding, and technical nursing, and successfully pass the examination. Lastly, the nurse is required to meet the Ishihara’s Color Vision test requirements, i.e., should not be colorblind.
Holistic Life Balance
According to Mullen (2015), the lack of adequate work-life balance among nurses is largely predetermined by their cultural and social backgrounds, beliefs, perceptions, and knowledge which, affect individual attitudes to work and personal life. Thus, to ensure a better balance in life, during the first year, I will mainly focus on this internal outlook on the issue. Such self-care practices as relaxation, physical activities, healthy eating, and so on are essential to stress prevention and reduction. Additionally, to maintain a good work-life balance, I will evaluate the situation in my professional and personal life every two months. In this way, it will be possible to identify the areas which consume most of the energy and attention and respond to any problems promptly.
After the first year of work, the maintenance of life-work balance may become even more important and, at the same time, challenging as the responsibilities and workloads may increase over time. Moreover, within five years, I intend to attain some goals in professional, academic, and personal development. Thus, these areas of performance should be well-balanced and integrated.
During the following five years of work, I will implement same methods as mentioned in the first plan. However, additionally, I will advocate for the managerial support of work-life balance and self-care imperatives within the hospital of my placement. Nurses’ ability to maintain an adequate work-life balance largely depends on organizational and staffing practices. For instance, there is a direct link between workload management, and staff members’ health and stress level which, in their turn, impact the quality of service and the overall patient outcomes (Van den Oetelaar, van Stel, van Rhenen, Stellato, & Grolman, 2016). Thus, advocacy for adequate work-life balance in the hospital and development of organizational policies may help to generate both individual and organizational benefits.
Stressors and Challenges
Blum (2014) distinguishes the following work-related stressors in nursing: unpredictable and challenging workspaces, increased paperwork, insufficient managerial support, role ambiguity, medical errors, staffing, care planning, etc. It is also observed that more experienced nurses are less prone to experiencing job-related stress (Blum, 2014). Thus, the implementation of coping techniques may be especially important during the first years of work.
As a method for dealing with challenges and stressors, I will engage in continual self-education, deliberate practice, and strengthening of professional relations with more experienced colleagues. Schmidt, Goldhaber-Fiebert, Ho, and McDonald (2013) state that the deliberate practice may reduce the fear of medical errors, boost nurses’ confidence, and help to build necessary knowledge that, in its turn, may result in a better patient safety. Thus, education and knowledge-building may be effective methods for coping with occupational stressors in nursing.
The one-year plan will include the job-specific training and education. I also intend to get a specialty certification in Basic/Advanced Cardiac Life Support (B/ACLS) as the findings of job search revealed that employers in Chicago require it most frequently. To obtain the BCLS or ACLS certificate, I will complete a short-term course and pass the exam. The certificate will allow me to perform a greater range of responsibilities and advance in the workplace.
The five-year plan includes the completion of the doctoral degree and the pursuit of a career as an Advance Practice Nurse (APN). Advanced education and significant experience in clinical practice are the primary requirements for getting the APN license. Therefore, it will be more feasible to get it after a few years of work experience. Additionally, in the future, I would like to specialize in family medicine mainly because it integrates multiple disciplines and approaches. The given feature makes it increasingly challenging yet very appealing and interesting.
In my future career, I intend to make a contribution to medicine through the provision of high-quality care, patient education, advocacy, and research. The best way in which I will be able to contribute to the improvement of a nursing role during the first year is caring for self in the profession. Care of a nurse’s self and care of the profession as a whole are interrelated phenomena and, by developing one of these aspects, the nurse contributes to the development of another (Chiovitti, 2015). It means that my professional performance will reflect nursing profession as a whole and will contribute to its public image. Thus, during the first years, I will constantly be focused on self-development and improvement of skills.
As for the contribution to a nursing community during the following five years, I would like to conduct a research of a particular nursing-related health issue or organizational issue, e.g., work-life balance. The findings of my prospective study could be used in policy making, legislation, and advocacy for the improvement of healthcare which is one of the primary goals of the Nursing Community.
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Blum, C. (2014). Practicing self-care for nurses: A nursing program initiative. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(3), Manuscript 3. Web.
Chiovitti, R. (2015). Professionhood and professionalism as an educational aid for facilitating nursing students’ development and renewal of self and profession. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, 5(11), 51-64.
Mullen, K. (2015). Barriers to work-life balance for hospital nurses. Workplace Health & Safety, 63(3), 96-99. Web.
National Council of States Board of Nursing. (2017). NCLEX examination candidate bulletin. Web.
Schmidt, E., Goldhaber-Fiebert, S. N., Ho, L. A., & McDonald, K. M. (2013). Simulation exercises as a patient safety strategy: A systematic review. Annals Internal Medicine, 158(5), 426-432.
Van den Oetelaar, W. F. J. M., van Stel, H. F., van Rhenen, W., Stellato, R. K., & Grolman, W. (2016). Balancing nurses’ workload in hospital wards: study protocol of developing a method to manage workload. BMJ Open, 6(11), e012148. Web.