Rebecca Jung, RN, BSN was attending Texas Tech University with a major in Geology when she decided that nursing was her calling. She was managing a veterinary clinic at the time, and had fallen in love with the science and healing. Shortly thereafter, she moved home to north Texas and attended nursing school at Weatherford College.
After graduating with honors, Rebecca took her Associate of Applied Science in Nursing to Long Term Acute Care. Working with the critically ill patients of this population taught her not only the basics of nursing, but how compassion and strength are needed as well. Rebecca moved to Houston, Texas and received a job in the Texas Medical Center.
Still working in Long Term Acute Care, she specialized in Transplant nursing – heart and lung transplants mostly – and expanded her nursing experience exponentially. Utilizing her now expanded knowledge base, Rebecca applied for and received a promotion into Transplant Case Management.
During this time, she also attended school at University of Texas at Arlington and completed her Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Having completed research courses as part of the curriculum, Rebecca fell in love with Research Nursing. She was recommended for the position of Program Coordinator for a research program her hospital was launching as a sub-cohort of a grant from CMS. Rebecca soon found herself managing a major research grant with a focus on Sepsis early detection and intervention. She initiated and created training for employees and physicians, and assisted with the development of a Sepsis protocol for her hospital system.
Being on the forefront of the new Sepsis awareness in healthcare, Rebecca has helped develop simulation scenarios for sepsis education, refined research protocols to better patient outcomes, as well as formulate a data analysis of lives saved through the program, as well as cost savings from early intervention of sepsis. Rebecca feels that in the time she has spent on the Sepsis grant, she has helped save more lives than she ever could as a bedside nurse. She is currently in the process of expanding the Sepsis program to the rest of her hospital system’s campuses in the Houston area. Looking forward to Graduate School, Rebecca hopes to receive her MS in Nursing Education and eventually teach nursing someday.
Few professionals enjoy the trust and respect that nurses do. They’ve earned every bit of it and deserve even more.
Why is it, then, that so many of the most educated, thoroughly trained and well-credentialed nurses aren’t allowed to use all their skills and talents to take care of patients who want and need their help? Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) have extensive post-graduate education, including at least a Master’s degree and often a doctorate of nursing practice. They have had specialized training to qualify as a certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, certified registered nurse anesthetist, or nurse practitioner. Yet in more than two-thirds of the states, antiquated laws prevent APRNs from practicing to the full extent of their education, training and certification.
As we celebrate National Nurses Week from May 6 to May 12, this would be a good time to focus on fixing this inequality, a top priority for AARP because consumers and family caregivers need full access to all of our clinicians.
It’s been over seven years since the Institute of Medicine issued a report calling for nurse leaders to play an expanded role to improve health care in the United States; yet, many barriers and limitations still exist.
Restrictions vary by state, but often APRNs have to wait for a physician to sign documents such as disabled parking placards, referrals for physical therapy, or death certificates. In some states, APRNs cannot write prescriptions for certain drugs – or at all. Some aren’t even allowed to refer patients to specialists.
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