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  • You BSN Degree is Within Reach – Even if you work full time

    As the need for degreed nurses grows, educators are taking notice and creating programs that fit into the nurse’s hectic schedule. If you are an RN and want to advance your career, an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is designed to help you do just that! Flexible online options are great for those in the busy healthcare field. The 24/7 access to your course materials makes your life easier, especially if you're a busy nurse who works rotating shifts. A BSN program helps you earn the credentials you need to qualify for new opportunities in specialized nursing and nursing management. Enhance your skills to better meet the demands of today's dynamic health care environment and pursue advanced professional roles.*


    Earning a degree is a significant investment of your time and money; that’s why iStudySmart.com and Kaplan University offer numerous opportunities for you to complete your degree faster and save money, too.
    Kaplan’s flexible online BSN degree program features the ability to prepare for and pass standardized exams and transfer the credit toward your Kaplan BSN degree. iStudySmart.com offers online standardized exam prep materials in the following courses that are mapped to the Kaplan BSN degree.


    •   • Statistics  
    •   • Introductory Psychology 
    •   • World Religions 
    •   • Substance Abuse 
    •   • Here's to Your Health 
    •   • Abnormal Psychology 
    •   • Foundations of Gerontology

    Using iStudySmart.com standardized exam preparation materials and testing out of 7 courses, you can save nearly $10,000. Qualifying transfer credit can reduce your total costs. §

    Looking for more savings?

    As an iStudySmart.com customer, you receive a free National Education Alliance membership that gives you the following benefits from Kaplan University:

    •   • Receive a 10 percent tuition reduction. ‡
    •   • Application fee waived


    Kaplan and iStudySmart.com are committed to helping you pursue your goals and will support you from admission through graduation with helpful teams of advisors dedicated to guiding you to success. You earned your RN license to deliver patient care. Now, you have the opportunity to expand your nursing skills and advance your education.



    *Kaplan University's programs are designed to prepare graduates to pursue employment in their field of study, or in related fields. However, the University does not guarantee that graduates will be placed in any particular job, eligible for job advancement opportunities, or employed at all. Additional training or certification may be required.
    § Kaplan University does not guarantee the transferability or award of credit. See University Catalog for Transfer of Credit policy.
    ‡ Tuition reduction may NOT be combined with scholarships, military discounts, tuition vouchers, and other discounts.

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  • Has Your Career Outgrown Your Resume?

    When you consider the factors which make people successful in their careers, the capacity to represent your value is nearly as important as the creation of that value in the first place. This is particularly true if you are building your career in the healthcare, academia or other technical profession where your competency indicators are quite often valued as much by their weight in pounds as their weight in importance.

    The term “portfolio” typically refers to an assembly of your best stuff.

    Your financial portfolio is collection of carefully selected investment vehicles which are designed to best define your financial value. When it comes to your career, a portfolio can be used to represent a selection of elements which best define your professional value, your overall competency. An artist, designer or photographer creates a binder they show to new clients or hiring managers as a representation of their craft. This is pretty straight forward for professions where the aesthetic value of your work is what defines you. When it comes to a field such as nursing however, the competency picture is a little more difficult to capture and express.

    Here, you are dealing with a lot of continuing education courses which need to be completed for compliance or for advancement. You have your professional license and healthcare certifications which must be kept up to date and presented to those who ask. You also have the checklists which were completed by your preceptors, or evaluations written by your managers which can both weigh heavily when illustrating how well you demonstrate your skills in practice. All this, even before you consider your experience, degrees and other items found in a traditional resume. Before long, the static resume you keep in Microsoft Word is no match for all of the competency indicators you have worked so hard to acquire. Why sell yourself short?

    The good news is that with the development of cloud computing, along with the ever increasing number of devices available to connect you, there is no better time to leave your Word file behind. Decision Critical has been a software as a service (SaaS) provider since 1999 and has become a leader in the healthcare space for competency management tools, including the online portfolio. The full suite of tools help institutions to pull together course transcripts, evaluations, completed checklists, resumes, reflections and more on their people. This can all be used to gain a complete competency picture of their staff and to deliver compliance reporting.

    Individual nurses have access to a powerful online application which lets them capture and store their entire life’s body of work, much of which can even be auto-populated. When it comes time to show their wares, they can easily select the key indicators they want to include in a custom view and send it to the audience of their choosing. The nurse owns all of their information which can be taken when they graduate from school or move up the ladder over the span of their career. It has never been easier to show the world what you have to offer.

    Learn more about how portfolios can help you your career at the Decision Critical web site.

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  • National Education Alliance Counseling Center Can Help Nursing Students Get the College Credit They Deserve

    Deciding which nursing schools will accept previously completed credits can be challenging. There’s always the question of many credits can be transferred and the fear that some of these credits when changing colleges. Before even figuring out what credits will transfer or not, the task of choosing which nursing schools will match nursing students’ educational goals can be overwhelming as there are hundreds of nursing schools in the nation.

    iStudySmart.com has partnered with the National Education Alliance, an advocacy group for adult leaders, to provide an alternative that can help nursing students decide what schools will best fit what they are looking for academically and that will, without a doubt, accept their previously completed college credits. The National Education Alliance has recently announced the opening of its Counseling Center to assist nursing students in determining what colleges and universities will accept and transfer previously completed college credits. 

    How It Works

    The National Education Alliance Counseling Center (NEACC) will search over 300 potential colleges and universities that best fit nursing students’ needs in one database search. Additionally, the NEACC will provide transcript evaluations to the schools that are the most cost-effective and that will award the most previously completed college credits.

    As an extra perk, the National Education Alliance is temporarily waiving its $95 membership fee. Nursing students can have access to the Counseling Center database as well as the products/services offered by the National Education Alliance without paying membership dues for a limited time only.

    Find out more about National Education Alliance and the NEACC by visiting the following links:

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  • Nursing Shoes: The Most Important Accessory for Healthcare Professionals

    As an LPN/LVN, Paramedic or Respiratory Therapist, you could be spending the majority of your day on your feet, running from patient to patient to provide the best care and attention that you possibly can. But by the time you finish your hectic day and have a minute to sit down, you might notice that your dogs are barkin’, and we’re not talking about our fuzzy, four-legged companions here.

    We’re talking about your feet, and more specifically, the type of shoes you’re wearing throughout the day. Did you know that most foot pain is caused by shoes that don’t fit properly and can cause pain to other parts of the body, like the back and neck? 

    But there might be a cure to your pain. Brands such as Sketchers, LA Gear and Reebok created footwear that make for the perfect nurse shoes that can help improve posture and blood circulation, relieve stress to knees, strengthen backs and even help tone muscles! These “nursing shoes” could help you throughout the day and leave you feeling more pain-free when you’re done with your shift.

    You work hard as a healthcare professional, and just like the care you provide to your patients, you need to care of yourself.  Make sure to treat yourself (and your feet!) with the care you deserve. Investing in comfortable nurse shoes is the first step.

    We want to hear from you. Have you tried any of the brands of nursing shoes mentioned above? What did you think of the nurse shoes you tried? Leave us a comment below or post to the Facebook page!

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  • Get Back on Track with the NAPNES Approved LPN Refresher Course

    Need to reactivate an inactive license or update current knowledge and skills?

    If so, the online, self-study and self-paced NAPNES Approved LPN Refresher Course is for you!


    Who Should Pursue This Course?

    The LPN Refresher Course is specifically geared toward previously licensed LPNs or LVNs.  It is approved by NAPNES for 240 total contact hours.


    What Does This Course Feature?

    The self-paced, 16-module online course provides full technical support to nursing students.

    The LPN Refresher Course is also approved/accepted by the vast majority of states for re-instatement of lapsed or inactive licenses.*


    Receive $25 off the LPN Refresher Course!

    Use Coupon Code $ave123


    Sign Up Now!


    *Contact the Board of Nursing of the state you practice in for specific regulations.


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  • Develop Skills, Knowledge and Professionalism With One of the NAPNES Nurse Certification Programs!


    NAPNES LPN/LVN Pharmacology Certification (NCP)

    NAPNES Certification in Pharmacology allows LPN/LVNs to measure their knowledge against a national test and offers a national credential, post-licensure, that many employers require. Since the mid sixties, NAPNES Certification in Pharmacology has been a mark of excellence – a nurse certification above minimum standards for licensure -- for licensed practical/vocational nurses. Add the NCP designation in your nurse certification portfolio! Build and expand your employability.


    NAPNES LPN/LVN Certification in Long-Term Care (CLTC)

    Long-Term Care Certification (CLTC) is comprehensive in that it covers the entire life-span, for people that are chronically ill. So whether your patients and clients are infants, seniors, or in-between, this is the certification to have. The NAPNES CLTC is a Long-Term Care certification that has been recognized in the nursing industry for decades. This revised version includes new theories in Long-Term Care across the life span and e-learning. It’s time to add a CLTC Long-Term Care Certification to your portfolio!


    NAPNES Allied Health Professional (AHP)
    Long-Term Care Certification (LTC)

    This is a new nurse certification for NAPNES and includes unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) for the Long-Term Care Certification.  The Allied Health Professional Long-Term Care certification program confirms to employers that the candidate is knowledgeable in long-term care and is engaged in skill-building. Add the AHP Long-Term Care certification to your portfolio! 

    Save $20 Off a NAPNES Certificate! Use Coupon Code: SAVE123 

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  • Decision Critical Founder & CEO Runs for Future Nurses

    There is no question that those in the healthcare community perform heroic and lifesaving tasks each day in order to care for others.  In the spring of 2009, Santa Clara High School’s staff nurse, Eileen Bowden, performed CPR on the school’s softball coach after he collapsed with no pulse after a team practice.


    Bowden’s actions kept the coach alive until paramedics arrived at the school, but then nurse Bowden collapsed.  Tragically, she died en route to the local medical center.  To read more about Bowden’s story, please click here.


    In 2009, Kenneth Dion, Decision Critical Founder and CEO, ran the San Francisco half-marathon for the first time in an effort to help raise funds for nursing scholarships and to increase awareness around the need for future nursing leaders.  Dion made his run in remembrance of Eileen Bowden.  His efforts raised over $3,200 toward the Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship Fund, administered through the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association.


    On July 25, 2010, Dion ran the half marathon for a second time in memoriam of Bowden and raised another $2,000 toward the Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship Fund to help nurses of today become leaders of tomorrow.


     “I am not a runner,” Dion said.


     “John F. Kennedy once said that, ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things . . . not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ In an effort to bring increased attention to our need for future professional nurses, I chose this event because it was hard.


    “I wanted people to know that this was an idea that I took very, very seriously.  I believe that the importance of nurses like Eileen lives on in her memory and if we do not recognize and make others aware of the need for exceptional nurses like Eileen, they will not be there when we need them.  We must all support aspiring nurses financially while they make the hard personal sacrifices on their journey to becoming a professional nurse.”


    To donate to Dion’s efforts and the Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship Fund, please click here.


    To learn more about the Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship and other nursing scholarships, visit the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association website.

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  • RN Dies After Saving Coach with CPR - Help Needed!

    Eileen Bowden, RN, School Nurse for Santa Clara School District, died shortly after the softball coach she ultimately saved with CPR was rushed to the hospital. Eileen was an inspiration to the profession and to what is good in our society. Eileen was a single parent and leaves behind an 11 year old adopted daughter. To learn more about Eileen please visit



    The Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship has been established through the Foundation of the National Student Nurses’ Association. This scholarship will support nursing students as they strive to as they make the personal sacrifices required to emulate professional excellence exemplified by Eileen.


    To support this effort, I will be running the San Francisco Half Marathon for the second year in a row on July 25th to raise funds to endow The Eileen Bowden Memorial Scholarship. Please visit my website at http://charity.decisioncritical.com and make a donation to support the future of Nursing. We all need nurses like Eileen.


    Thank you for your support,

    Kenneth W. Dion, RN, MSN, MBA

    Founder & CEO

    Decision Critical, Inc


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  • Nursing Students: Go to School in Your Pajamas!

    Thousands of people go to school in their pajamas every day.  By using distance learning to obtain your Associate’s Degree in Nursing, you can enjoy studying in a relaxed atmosphere while working toward your goal of becoming an RN.


    Advancing your career from LPN to RN, Paramedic to RN, or RT to RN is your ticket to job security!  While it can be challenging for some to commute back and forth to school and figuring out child care while balancing a full schedule, distance learning students don’t have those things to worry about.  If you are a Licensed Practical Nurse, Paramedic, or Respiratory Therapist looking to become an RN, distance learning is a convenient solution for you.  Distance learning programs allow you to take courses from the comfort and convenience of your home or during your downtime! 


    Don’t waste time and money commuting back and forth to school several times a week, just pull up a chair and get started wherever you’re comfortable. 


    Don’t arrange and incur the extra expense for a babysitter to watch your kids while you’re at class on campus several times a week.  You can be in your home with them studying while they do their homework or play.


    Don’t rearrange your work schedule for school, simply study when you want and test when you’re ready.  If you learn better early in the day, during down time at work, while your child practices baseball, or late into the evening, that’s perfect!  You decide when, where, and how long!


    The demands of a family, a full or part-time job, and other responsibilities can make the thought of getting your Associate’s Degree in Nursing seem like a dream that will never become a reality.  However, with the convenience and flexibility of distance learning nursing degree programs you can move from LPN to RN, Paramedic to RN, or RT to RN without disrupting your entire life.


    If you want to earn your ASN degree, but would not have to drive to a college campus, iStudySmart.com has the in-depth study materials you need to complete college credit using CLEP, DSST, and ECE exams.  iStudySmart.com courses cover every concept you'll see on test day. Complete the assignments and you'll know what you need to know. It’s guaranteed!

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  • Nurses Wanted!

    Job postings are popping up around the nation because the aging population requires more care and existing nurses are retiring. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the healthcare career field to be within the top ten fastest growing jobs from now to 2018. The Bureau also reports that on average, nursing degree holders make between $51,640 to $76,570 annually with great benefits, job security and advancement opportunities.

    Now is the time to begin your nursing education and working toward fulfilling your career goals. With advancements in education, you can work toward your nursing degree in the comfort of your own home! Distance learning nursing degree programs are an alternative to traditional college programs and provide several benefits to nursing students …

    • Convenience -- Work at your own pace and study when it’s convenient for you.
    • Save On Money -- Distance learning programs don’t require you to drive to campus, which helps you save on gas costs.
    • Flexible Schedules -- Because you don’t need to commit to being in class at a set day and time each week, you’re able to balance your family, work and social commitments with your studies
    • Earn Your Degree Sooner -- Distance learning nursing degree programs typically move faster than traditional college programs.  While traditional classes are usually 16 weeks long, with distance learning you can study as quickly as you want.

    iStudySmart.com can help nursing students test out of general education and nursing subjects and complete college credit. For more information, visit http://www.istudysmart.com/fpage.asp?fpid=51 or call 800-737-2222.

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