Nursing Career Resource

Nursing Career Resource

Nurses are in high demand these days. No matter what the economy looks like, people continue to need health care, so the industry continues to grow. Jobs in nursing are both fulfilling and fairly well-paying. Though nurses do require anywhere from one to four years of college to become certified, they can almost always find a job at hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and even in schools. Though there are many specializations in the nursing field, there are a few more common areas of practice.

Labor and Delivery Staff Nurse

Since most births in the United States occur in a hospital or a birthing center attached to a hospital, labor and delivery nurses, often called L&D nurses, can find jobs in almost any town. L&D nurses provide care both for the mothers and their babies before, during, and after delivery. Since most OB/GYN doctors are only present to deliver the baby, it is the nurses who provide most of the care. Although they need to be able to deal with emergencies during high risk births, helping bring new babies into the world is also one of the most fulfilling jobs a nurse can perform.

Because of the nature of the patients L&D nurses work with, they are required to have extra certifications above their Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. They must be certified in fetal resuscitation and fetal monitoring. There are also subspecialties in L&D, like intrapartum nursing, postpartum nursing, fetal monitoring, and nursery care. These certifications can be sought after an L&D nurse has worked for two years in the field.

L&D nurses have a great deal of independence. While there are doctors and midwives who dictate orders, it is the nurses who are in the trenches, assessing the mothers and babies, developing courses of treatment or procedures, and carrying out the orders. Sometimes L&D nurses become operation room nurses when a C-section is needed. It is usually the L&D nurses who show the new mothers how to care for and feed their new babies as well.

L&D nurses most often work in hospitals and birthing centers, but can also work in clinics or maternity centers as well. In 2008, the median salary for a registered nurse was about $62,000. However, L&D nurses, because of their extra certifications, usually make more that. L&D nurses can make $35 to $40 an hour depending on experience and where they work.

Emergency Nurses

Being an emergency nurse guarantees that no work day will ever be just like the others. Emergency nurses work with all age ranges, genders, occupations, and a variety of illnesses and injuries. They must have a wide range of knowledge to be able to treat any and all of these. Emergency nurses can find employment in hospital emergency rooms, clinics, urgent care centers, and hospital transports, like ambulances or helicopters. However, emergency nurses are also found at online health call centers, cruises or travel destinations, camps, and working for pharmaceutical companies.

Emergency nurses are registered nurses. Because their job is usually more general care in nature, there aren’t really any specializations in emergency nursing, though they can be certified in things like trauma care or pediatric nursing. Sometimes emergency nurses teach educational seminars or clinics in schools, communities, or businesses. They also attend classes and seminars to keep current on new treatments and techniques. In 2011, the median salary for an emergency nurse was just under $65,000 a year.

  • Emergency Nurses Association – The ENA supports the professional growth and development of emergency nurses, no matter where they are employed.
  • Emergency Nursing World – This website offers links to pertinent articles and conferences for nurses who work in emergency rooms.

Nurse Practitioners

Over the last several years, the health care industry has employed several methods to increase health care accessibility while keeping costs down. One way this has been achieved is through the use of nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners can take care of basic health needs such as acute and chronic disease diagnosing and treatment, managing chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, and even providing prenatal care for pregnant women. They order lab work, tests, and can write prescriptions.

Because what nurse practitioners do is far beyond what most registered nurses are able or are allowed to do, they must complete not only a BSN, but get a master’s degree as well. If the nurse practitioner is going into a particular specialty, he or she must complete whatever requirements needed for those certifications as well. Some of these require an additional two years of clinical training. Starting nurse practitioners make around $68,000 while experienced ones can pull in nearly $90,000, depending upon experience and training.

Nurse practitioners often work in doctor’s offices or clinics, taking some off the load off the doctors by seeing patients with more basic medical needs. They can also work in hospitals in the same manner. Since nurse practitioners make less money and have lower malpractice insurance needs than doctors who see higher risk patients, this saves hospitals money while still seeing that these medical needs are taken care of. Nurse practitioners also work in nursing homes, home health organizations, public health offices, and in the armed forces.

Nurse Anesthetists

Whenever a patient needs surgery or even an in-office procedure, the odds are very high that he will be sedated by a nurse anesthetist. In hospitals about half of all surgical patients are put under by a CRNA, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. The number is even higher in more rural hospitals. Almost half of all CRNAs are male, whereas men make up only 5% of the rest of the nursing population.

CRNAs work in all areas of hospital anesthesia. This includes general surgery suites and in the labor and delivery section. CRNAs can also work in independent surgical suites, dentist offices, and any doctor’s office where in-office procedures are performed. This would include plastic surgeons, orthopedists, podiatrists, and ophthalmologist offices. CRNAs also are employed by the military and the VA.

CRNAs are some of the highest paid nurses today. The starting salary ranges from $80,000 to $110,000 and can go up to $150,000 with a few years’ experience. Overtime is a common requirement as well. A CRNA must first earn a BSN and become certified as an RN. Then he or she would attend a graduate program in anesthesia, which takes another two or three years, depending on the program. This program provides both the education and the clinical work needed. Then he must pass a national certification test.

Staff Nurse

Staff nurses are the workhorses of every hospital. While the doctors oversee a patient’s care, it is the nurses who carry out the orders, who respond first to any issues or emergencies, and administer the treatments. Doctors treat the illnesses or diseases, while nurses help the patient focus on health and any lifestyle changes that need to happen. Because of the multitude of tasks nurses do every day in hospitals all over the country, nurses make up the vast majority of all personnel in the health care industry.

Nurses work in every area of the hospital, from the floors where general patient care is over seen, to more specialized areas, like the neonatal ward, cardiovascular treatment rooms, and the surgical suites. They work with a wide range of ages and conditions, though some do specialize. While the individual nurse’s tasks might be a bit different in these areas, a nurse’s job basically comes down to two functions: to see that the patient’s needs are met and to ensure that the prescribed treatments are being properly carried out.

To become a registered nurse, a person must complete a two year associates degree or a three year hospital-based diploma program. To earn a bachelor of science in nursing takes a full four years, but also opens up more opportunities in management and a higher salary. The average salary for registered nurses is about $62,000. However, this varies widely depending on the area of the country, the size of the hospital, and how many years’ experience the nurse has. Also, if the nurse has any certifications, like to work with premature babies, she’ll make more. Nurses with a BSN also make more than licensed practical nurses, or LPNs.

  • American Nurses Association – The ANA wishes to advance the profession of nursing by protecting the rights of nurses and by helping them to provide the best care to patients.
  • Association of periOperative Registered Nurses – This group of nurses who work in operating rooms helps to maintain the highest standards for these nurses to ensure the best treatment for patients.

School Nurse

There are almost 100,000 public schools across the United States, and almost all of them employ at least one registered nurse to work full-time at the school. While these nurses don’t work in hospitals, they play an important role in the health of the children of the country. They also are usually responsible for teaching nutrition and health to the students. They can also provide counseling to students.

School nurses care for students who become ill during school hours, calling parents as needed. In recent years, however, the role of a school nurse has expanded. School nurses also help students with chronic conditions receive the care needed so that they can continue to attend regular school. This would include administering medication, giving insulin shots to diabetics, giving feedings to students with g-tubes, and even providing catheter care. The nurse also acts as the health care expert on campus.

School nurses are employed by the school districts, which have different requirements. While they all require certified registered nurses, some will hire LPNs while others require a BSN. Some experts recommend school nurses have a minimum of a BSN, but that has not been adapted as a national standard yet. There is also a school nursing certification that can be earned as well, though not all districts require it. The salary range varies depending upon the school district and the area of the country. The range starts at around $32,000 and $52,000 for nine months of work; though in some districts, nurses with years of experience can make over $70,000. Benefits are determined by the school district.

  • National Association of School Nurses – This association helps school nurses stay abreast of all issues that might affect them and provides resources for continuing education.
  • American Public Health Association – The APHA is an organization of all health care professionals who work in the public health sphere. It promotes programs aimed at achieving better health and wellness in communities all over the country.
  • National School Health Association – The aim of this organization is to assist school nurses and other school health professionals to execute plans to improve the health of school children and their families.

Additional Resources

Financial Aid

Financial Aid for Students Pursuing a Degree in Nursing

Students who have decided to go to nursing school, whether it is a two-year or four-year program, should consider all their financial aid options when applying. Aid is available to students based on both merit and financial need. A student shouldn't rule out applying for financial aid because they think they or their parents earn too much money. Scholarships, grants, and loans are available to students who earn a range of incomes. To get the most aid possible, a student should look into both public and private sources of funding, and apply as early on as possible.

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is one of the first steps a student nurse should take in searching for financial aid. The FAFSA can be submitted starting on January 1 of each year for the upcoming fall semester. The earlier a student completes the FAFSA, the more likely that student is to receive aid if needed. Schools and the government use the FAFSA to determine if a student is eligible for grants, federal loans, and work-study opportunities. The form can be submitted online and a student should get a response about eligibility and expected family contribution quickly.

Students who demonstrate extreme need may be eligible for federal grants, such as the Pell grant. Unlike a loan, a student does not need to pay back a grant, so it is a more preferable form of aid for many. Grants may also be available from private sources, such as nursing organizations or nursing schools themselves. Students interested in learning about all the grant options available to them should consult their student financial aid office.

Scholarships are often given to students based on academic performance and skills. A few scholarships are also awarded based on financial need. As with grants, scholarships do not need to be repaid. Some nursing schools offer scholarships to students based on high school GPAs. Private scholarships can also be applied for and usually require an essay or purpose statement. In some cases, a scholarship may be given to students who live in a certain region or are of a certain race or ethnicity. Organizations such as the Red Cross and Kaiser Permanente also offer scholarships to nursing students.

Another financial aid option available to nursing students is work-study. Most work-study programs are need-based, so a student must demonstrate financial need in order to qualify. In exchange for working at an on-campus job, the student receives an hourly wage. Students are generally awarded a certain amount of money that they can earn through work-study per semester and should not earn more than that amount for each given period.

Student loans are a common financial aid option for many nursing students. A student borrows a sum of money and is expected to pay it back, with interest, after leaving school. Depending on the type of loan, the interest may accumulate while the student is in school. Federal loans usually offer better interest rates and a more flexible repayment schedule than private loans. The amount of money a student can borrow per year and throughout their academic career is limited under the Federal program though, so some students turn to private loans to supplement their schooling costs.

Loan forgiveness programs were created to fill shortages of nursing staff in certain hospitals. The Nursing Education Loan Forgiveness program is sponsored by the Federal government. To receive forgiveness on up to 60 percent of one's student loans, a nurse agrees to work in a critical shortage facility for at least two years. There are also programs sponsored by individual states, such as the Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness program in Florida, which forgives up for $4,000 per year, for up to four years of participation in the program.

High school students who know that they want to pursue nursing as a career should get a head start on the financial aid process. It is never too early to research scholarships and to begin to prepare to apply for those scholarships. The search for aid should begin around the same time the student decides to search for possible schools of interest. Websites that list information on nursing scholarships and other financial aid opportunities are plentiful, as are websites that cover the basics of financial aid options.

Common Children's Vaccines

Common Children's Vaccines

In the early 20th century, childhood diseases such as measles and whooping cough claimed tens of thousands of lives. Subsequent vaccination campaigns have all but eliminated some of these diseases from the U.S. However, infectious disease still remains a leading cause of death worldwide and can be brought in by visitors from affected countries. It’s therefore still necessary to vaccinate children against nine dangerous illnesses: measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, polio, rotavirus, diphtheria and tetanus. These vaccinations are safe, inexpensive and widely available; many are given in combinations to reduce the need for multiple injections. 


Measles is a very contagious virus that’s spread through the air by contaminated droplets from an infected person’s nose and throat. It starts with a cough, runny nose and slight fever, followed by the famous spotty rash. Children should first receive the MMR vaccination (measles, mumps, rubella) at 12 to 15 months of age. They should receive a second MMR dose for optimum protection when they enter school, usually at 4 to 6 years of age. The two measles vaccinations confer immunity to roughly 99 percent of the children who receive them.

Measles Facts from the NY State Department of Health

History of the Measles Vaccine


The mumps virus causes fever, headache and swelling of the salivary glands. This swelling lasts for about a week. Mumps is transmitted by coughing, sneezing or contact with an infected person’s saliva. Potential but uncommon complications of mumps include miscarriage, sterility in males and meningitis resulting in deafness. The mumps vaccine is given as part of the MMR vaccination and is administered to children at 12 to 15 months, followed by a second dose at 4 to 6 years of age. It confers lifelong immunity to the mumps.

The MMR Vaccine

Facts About Mumps


Pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” is a very contagious bacterial infection marked by such severe coughing that half of babies with pertussis must be hospitalized, according to the PKIDs Online website. Whooping cough gets its name from the gasping sound affected children make. Pertussis is spread by sneezing, coughing or contact with infected saliva. It may result in complications like bacterial pneumonia and can be fatal. The pertussis vaccine is usually given as part of the DTaP combination vaccination, which immunizes children against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis. The DTaP vaccine is given to children as a series of injections at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to18 months and 4 to 6 years. Children who have been immunized are six times less likely to contract pertussis than those who were never vaccinated, according to the PKIDs site. It’s also important for caregivers of newborns to be vaccinated against pertussis. This reduces the possibility of pertussis transmission when a baby is still too young to receive the vaccination.

The Dangers of Pertussis

The Pertussis Vaccine


Rubella is also known as the “German measles,” but is distinct from measles and is caused by a different virus. Rubella is spread by sneezing or coughing, and is usually mild in children, producing mainly fever and sore throat. However, if a pregnant woman is infected with rubella, the disease can cause serious birth defects. Women who plan to get pregnant should get a rubella vaccine at least four weeks beforehand, but if they’re already pregnant, they should wait to be vaccinated until giving birth, according to the CDC. Rubella was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2004, but vaccination continues because it can still be brought in from other countries. The rubella vaccination is given to children as part of the MMR vaccine, first at 12 to 15 months, and a second dose for optimum protection when they enter school, usually at 4 to 6 years of age.

History of Rubella

Rubella Facts



Varicella is a viral disease that’s also known as chickenpox. It causes fever, itching and blisters, and is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing or by exposure to blister fluid. Children who contract varicella may get shingles, a painful rash, later in life. Uncommon complications of varicella include bacterial infection, brain damage, pneumonia, or rarely, death. The varicella vaccine is often given at the same time as the MMR vaccine, in two doses. The first dose is given to children between 12 and 15 months of age, and the second dose is given to children between 4 and 6 years of age. Nearly 97 percent of immunized children between age 12 months and 12 years become immune to varicella after one dose of vaccine, according to the Immunization Action Coalition.

Varicella FAQs

Varicella Information


Polio is a viral disease that attacks nerve cells and often causes muscle wasting and paralysis. It can be fatal. There is no cure for polio, but the polio vaccine gives recipients immunity to the disease. Children get four doses of the vaccine at 2 months, 4 months, 6 to18 months, and a booster dose between the ages of 4 and 6.

When Should You Be Immunized?

History of the Polio Vaccine


Rotavirus is a very common intestinal virus in babies and children. It is a common cause of diarrhea and can also cause fever and vomiting. Rotavirus can cause severe dehydration and can be fatal. According to the World Health Organization, half a million children under the age of 5 die every year from vaccine-preventable rotavirus infections. Full-term infants between 6 and 14 weeks old should begin the vaccination series. Depending on the particular kind of rotavirus vaccine, children should receive the doses at 2 and 4 weeks; or at 2, 4 and 6 weeks of age. Both rotavirus vaccines are very effective, against even severe rotavirus gastroenteritis.

Rotavirus Vaccine

Rotavirus Worldwide



Diphtheria is a bacterial disease that’s currently rare in the U.S. Its most common form affects the respiratory tract and starts with a sore throat, low-grade fever and swollen neck. Less commonly, diphtheria may cause skin lesions. The disease may progress to breathing problems, paralysis, or heart failure. It can be fatal. Diphtheria spreads through contact with the bodily secretions of an infected person. There are two combination vaccines used to prevent diphtheria in children: the DTaP and DT combination vaccines. The DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) is given to children as a series of injections at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to18 months and 4 to 6 years. The DT vaccine (pediatric diphtheria and tetanus vaccine) is a DTaP substitute for children who can’t tolerate the pertussis vaccine.

Diphtheria Vaccine

Diphtheria Facts



Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a toxin that causes severe and painful muscle tightening throughout the body. The bacteria that produce the toxin live in soil, dust and animal feces, and can be introduced to the body through a deep wound. Tetanus has no cure and can be fatal, but vaccination can prevent it. The tetanus vaccine is part of the DTaP combination vaccine and is given to children as a series of injections at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4-6 years.

Tetanus Prevention

Tetanus Vaccine

First Aid Resource

General First Aid Resource Guide

First Aid is the first treatment a person receives after incurring an injury of some kind. While many cities and counties train firefighters and police personnel to be “first responders” in providing first aid, it’s also a good idea to become educated in providing first aid for your family so that you can provide assistance before emergency help comes. Local Red Cross organizations provide Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training and include it with a basic first aid course. Such a class usually takes a few hours to complete. CPR cards are typically valid for a year or two and require a refresher course. Being able to provide first aid can make the difference in helping a family member or wounded person when the need arises or can save a life.

Broken Bones

Broken bones, fractures sprains and strains are common accidents that can occur in a variety of situations. Broken bones or fractures always require a doctor's care or medical attention. In most cases, stabilize the person with the broken bone and don’t try to set the bone yourself. In cases of broken bones, call 911 emergency services or take the person to the emergency room at the hospital. For more information on broken bones and fractures, visit any one of these sites:


When a person is injured with a burn, you have to assess the burn before providing any treatment. Most people want to apply an ointment during a burn, but avoid this as this does not help the burn. Burns are classified by degrees; first-degree burns are red and painful. Second-degree burns have redness, pain and blistering. Third-degree burns – which can be life threatening – result in charred skin, severe pain and tissue loss. First-degree burns can be treated by running cold water over the burn, but don’t pop blisters or peel the skin. Third-degree, some two-degree and electrical or chemical burns require medical treatment. Find out more about burns at these websites:


When someone chokes on a piece of food, the person will not make a sound, cannot cough or dislodge what causes the choking. The Heimlich maneuver, which involves grasping the person from behind and placing a fist near the bottom of the esophagus while squeezing, can dislodge the object causing the choking. CPR provides basic life support to people who aren’t breathing or who may have suffered a heart attack. CPR can be learned by anyone, but it requires different approaches when performing CPR on an infant, a child, a pregnant woman or an adult. Rescue breathing allows the person providing CPR to keep breathing for the injured person until professional EMS personnel arrive. Once you start CPR, you cannot stop until relieved by medical personnel.


The weather can negatively affect people if a person experiences adverse exposure to heat or cold. During the summer, it’s important to stay hydrated and not work too much in the sun. Overexposure can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion and more. Severe exposure may require medical treatment. During cold weather, hypothermia and frostbite can result in minor to extensive injuries. During cold weather, dress warmly and keep moving and avoid going out into the weather under extreme conditions unless necessary. For tips on protecting yourself and treating weather-related injuries, review any one of these sites:


Children are the most susceptible to poisoning by getting into cupboards and ingesting things they shouldn’t such as cleaning chemicals and more. Always keep these chemicals out of the reach of children to prevent poisoning. Adults and children can be poisoned or experience an allergic reaction to a chemical, food or insect bite that results in anaphylactic shock. This causes the throat to redden and swell, cutting off the air supply. Severe reactions require immediate emergency treatment. When dealing with a poisoning, contact EMS services or the poison hotline for your area typically found in the front of your phone book and also call emergency medical services. Check out these websites for more information on poisoning:


Soft tissue injuries such as bruises, cuts, scrapes or punctures require cleaning and in-home treatment. If a person experiences a puncture by a nail or other metal object, they must have an updated tetanus shot to prevent other diseases from occurring. Avulsions are traumatic amputations or a tearing away of the skin or bones requiring emergency medical services. Keep wounds clean and bacteria free until medical personnel can treat them. Minor wound care requires cleaning and an anti-bacterial agent. Larger wounds may require stitches and medical treatment. Get more information on wounds and care from the following links:

Miscellaneous First Aid Resources

Wilderness Nurses

Wilderness Nurses, First Aid Preparedness

Those planning to spend time in the great outdoors must ensure they are prepared. Whether in the boy or girl scouts or simply enjoying the wonders of camping, it is imperative that those spending time outdoors are prepared for any situation that may arise. Those spending time in the wilderness should have a survival kit, supplies, know how to find and purify water, be familiar with creating shelter from materials available, know how to build a fire from everyday objects, and should have a thorough understanding of how to apply first aid. In addition to these skills, campers should be well practiced at performing CPR.

Wilderness Survival Kit Supplies

Those camping in the wilderness will need to ensure they have a wilderness survival kit. A kit is crucial to ensuring you have the supplies needed in times of emergency or crisis. Your survival kit should include necessities and supplies, as well as first aid items. Consider adding the following items to your survival kit.

  • Flashlight
  • Sun block
  • Chapstick
  • Extra batteries
  • Cell phone with extra batteries
  • Knife
  • Flare gun
  • Water
  • Bandages and tape
  • Cold packs
  • Eye wash
  • Book on first aid, CPR
  • Sterile gauze pads or gauze rolls
  • Blankets
  • Cold weather gear (gloves, hats, scarves)
  • Tweezers
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Disposable ice packs
  • MRE meals
  • Canned foods with can opener
  • Water purification tablets
  • High protein foods such as granola bars
  • Extra clothes
  • 72 Hour Survival Kit:  Stanford University shares this list originally obtained through user groups that details supplies for a 72-hour survival kit. 

How to Find and Purify Water

Water is one of the most important items that you must have while camping. People may live up to a month or more without food, but will only survive several days without water. Knowing how to find and purify water is of the utmost importance and may mean the difference between life and death. You should have extra canteens in your emergency supply kit, as well as water purifying tablets. While camping you may have access to rainwater, pond, or spring water but will need to purify it in order to drink it. This may be accomplished by using water purification tablets, by adding drops of bleach to a gallon of water, or by using a charcoal based purifier.

  • Emergency Water Supplies and Treatment: Colorado State University Extension discusses emergency water supplies, treatment, and how to purify water correctly. 
  • Bacteria in Drinking Water:  The University of Missouri Extension discusses the dangers of bacteria in drinking water and offers disinfection solutions. 
  • Your Emergency Food and Water Supply:  The University of Idaho discusses steps to take after a disaster or in times of an emergency for safe food and water. The tips are applicable to those camping and hiking.
  • Safe Handling of Food and Water:  This PDF guide from the University of Florida IFAS Extension discusses the importance of food and water safety in times of disaster or hurricanes, but is applicable for those surviving in the wilderness. 
  • Water Resources:  FEMA provides a number of tips and facts regarding safely storing water. 

The Importance of Building a Shelter

The importance of having adequate shelter while camping cannot be denied. From storing food, water, and emergency supplies, to having protection from elements and wild beasts, your shelter provides life saving benefits. Those camping must know how to build tents, but also how to create shelter in times of survival. Sometimes a shelter is as simple as wrapping yourself in a poncho or tarp, or stringing a tarp over a large branch in order to make instant shelter. Other emergency shelters include lean-tos, fallen trees, bough bed, caves, and snow caves.

  • Survival Lesson Plan:  Montclair State University discusses the importance of creating a tarp shelter in this wilderness survival lesson plan. 
  • Practical Plants: Shelter and Bedding:  Brandeis University discusses the importance of finding shelter in the wilderness and discusses methods of using plants to form shelter. 
  • Thunderstorms and Camping Safety:  The Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies discusses the importance of seeking shelter during thunderstorms and camping safety. 
  • When to Use Knots and Lashings: This PDF file from Merit Badge illustrates different knots and lashes and discusses when to use them. 
  • How to Build an Igloo: This PDF file from Dartmouth College provides instructions and photo illustrations regarding how to build an igloo. 

Building a Fire

The magnitude of building a safe campfire cannot go without notice. Your campfire not only provides warmth and heat, but is also the tool used to cook food. Fire can be used to purify water through boiling and removing impurities from raw foods. Several ways to build a fire in the wilderness do not include the use of matches. By using flint and steel, you can create sparks that will start a fire. 

  • How to Build a Campfire:  Smokey the Bear discusses safety and how to build a campfire while camping. 
  • Wilderness Survival: The Camp Edwards YMCA shares this lesson plan perfect for boy and girl scouts in the 3rd through 8th grades in PDF format. 
  • How to Build Campfires:  The DeAnza College discusses the importance of starting and safely putting out campfires. 
  • Campfire Safety:  The Daniel Boone National Forest discusses how to build a safe campfire. 


How to Make a Stretcher

One of the most dangerous situations to occur during a camping trip is when a member of your party becomes injured and must be immobilized. Knowing how to make a stretcher in the wilderness is a skill that can mean the difference between life and death. Blankets, hammocks, even tarps may be used as impromptu stretchers. The Boy and Girl scouts of America are taught how to make stretchers as part of wilderness survival skills.

  • Lifts and Pulls:  The University of Southern California discusses how to transport a person during times of medical emergency and crisis. 
  • Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Pamphlet:  The Boy Scouts of America released this training and survival guide that illustrates first aid and how to make a stretcher. (PDF) 
  • Wilderness medicine: Surviving the great outdoors:  The Baylor College of Medicine discusses first aid and steps to take during serious injuries to party members while camping or in the wilderness. 
  • Environmental Emergencies:  San Francisco General Hospital provides this PDF resource that discusses emergencies that may arise in the wilderness or while camping.
  •  First Aid Course:  This PDF manual from the Air Force discusses different types of first aid that must be applied in medical emergencies, including those in the wilderness or camping environment. 


When someone suffers a fracture or broken bone during a camping, hiking, or trip in the wilderness, it is imperative to understand how to provide first aid treatment. This is accomplished by stabilizing the bone through the use of splints or tape (as is the case with broken ribs). The bone with the fracture or break must be firmly secured to a splint. First aid also includes applying pressure bandage to any areas that are bleeding profusely.

Bug and Animal Bites

Bug and animal bites are not only prevalent while camping or hiking, but may also be life threatening. Those spending time in the wilderness should familiarize themselves with the animals in the area and remain on guard in order to avoid bites. Preventive methods are best but those who have been bitten will need to utilize first aid techniques. Wounds should be thoroughly cleaned and treated as warranted depending upon the severity of the bite. Remain on guard for rabies and other diseases transmitted by animals.

Other First Aid Resources

First aid is imperative for everyone planning to spend time hiking or camping. Always familiarize yourself with the dangers inherent to the area where you will be camping. Preparation is key to preventing injury as well as knowing how to respond correctly. Always tell friends and family members where you plan to camp or hike and set up a time where you will check in with them. This is one of the safest steps to take to ensure that others are notified should you encounter difficulty.

Study Tips

Study Tips for Students in the Medical Field

The medical field is vast and includes a variety of courses, degrees, and employment opportunities. In broad terms, the medical field includes the areas of medicine, dentistry, veterinary, pharmaceutical, chiropractic, optometry, and podiatry. Within each area are different specialties and each requires different tests or degrees. Some of the most popular tests associated with the medical field include the Medical College Admissions Test MCAT, Dental Admission Test (DAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (OAT), the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), Veterinary College Admission Test (VCAT), National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP), and the Medication Aide Certification Examination (MACE). Incorporating proper study techniques is essential for any student embarking upon a career in the medical field. Developing good study habits and ensuring you know how to remain calm during tests are tools that will ensure you can successfully pass the needed tests to launch your career and help you reach your educational goals.

Preparation and Goal Setting

From studying for classes to preparing for exams such as the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), preparation and goal setting are key. Students in the medical field may know their subject matter and have a timeline for when projects, assignments, or tests must be completed, but preparation and goal setting involve more than knowing a final due date. In order to study effectively, students must map out a strategy where they dedicate quality time for studying. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Preparation should include a thorough understanding of individual learning style, addressing issues that cause procrastination or lack of motivation, and ensuring that a suitable study environment has been created. Those studying in the medical field will need to make certain they are well organized and this includes keeping times for studying well scheduled and planned in advance.

The Importance of Organization

It does not matter if you are enrolling in nursing school, plant to become a dentist or training in veterinary medicine, organization is one of the most crucial aspects to successful studying. From organizing your workspace and schedule so that you have allotted sufficient time for studying, to organizing notes, bringing order to chaotic routines and study habits is one of the most important steps for success. Plan to have the same time period designated for studying each day. This will help form an atmosphere of relaxation while developing good study habits. The medical field is vast and involves a lot of memory work. You must determine what type of learning style you have and then choose a study method that fits accordingly. Organization can help prevent procrastination and even lack of motivation. By having a designated time for studying and building a regular habit of studying each day, you can ward off procrastination and make certain that you get the proper amount of studying each day.

Time Management, Schedules, and Procrastination

Time management is one of the most important aspects of organization. It is not enough to manage your time when studying, but you must also manage your time for completing assignments. Procrastination can have medical students scrambling to get assignments, essays, and projects completed at the last minute. Students must create schedules, not only for their general study period, but also for when they expect to have assignments completed. You will need to create a time frame for each project and when it is due and ensure that you have adequate time to work on, and complete each assignment. 

An important key that can reduce the amount of studying one dedicates to a topic, is to derive more value from lectures. Learning how to become an active listener can maximize the benefits of each class you take. If you master effective note taking, and implement methods used to become an active listener, you will retain more knowledge and reach your goals easier.

Memory Tricks

Using memory tricks can make an enormous difference in how well one retains information and performs on tests. Concentration is an important aspect of studying and those who have difficulty concentrating, find themselves daydreaming, or have trouble with memory, will find they are at a great disadvantage. Strengthening memory and concentration is critical for educational success and once achieved, a tremendous difference in grades may be experienced. Understanding how memory works and using memory tricks, such as mnemonic devices, can bridge the gap and help struggling students overcome hurdles that have blocked their path.

Test Taking and Anxiety

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One of the greatest hindrances to educational success is fear and anxiety associated with test taking. There are some students who may have a clear understanding of the subject at hand, yet freeze when it is time to take a test. The anxiety associated with tests can prove troublesome and even cause some students to experience physical symptoms of illness. Learning how to manage test anxiety can mean the difference between failing and passing and is imperative to overcome. Those in the medical field will take multiple tests throughout their career. From their days as a student until taking various tests for licensure, students must control anxiety and ensure they remain calm, cool, and in control during tests and exams.

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