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Meet Claire Stigler: An Instructor Passionate about the Art of Teaching and Healing

by South University
June 18, 2018
A photo of Dr. Claire Stigler.

Dr. Claire Stigler is an Assistant Professor in the Public Health Department at South University, Austin.

She holds an MS in Human Biology from the University of Indianapolis, where she studied paleopathology and trauma in historic skeletal populations in the Archeology and Forensics Laboratory and the Indiana Prehistory Laboratory. Fascinated by the elegance and resilience of the human form, she pursued her Doctorate in Chiropractic medicine at National University of Health Sciences and earned her degree in 2013.

Dr. Stigler has been teaching anatomy and physiology courses to Public Health and Physical Therapy Assistant students at South University, Austin since 2015. She is passionate about science and medicine and strives to share the beauty and complexity of human anatomy with each of her students. She believes that, living in a global community, we all have a responsibility to leave things in better condition than when we found then. Working in education allows her to do exactly that, as she takes every opportunity to act with compassion and lead with a generous heart to provide a positive role model for her students.

Outside of teaching, Dr. Stigler maintains a private chiropractic practice in Austin and is currently completing her Applied Clinical Nutrition certification. In all things, Dr. Stigler aims to help others create the happiest, healthiest version of their lives and achieve their optimum level of wellness in mind, body, and spirit.

Learn more about South University, Austin and our program offerings today!

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Meet Nicole Cross: Austin Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director

by South University
May 14, 2018
An image of several South University nursing students.  The image has the National Nurses Week 2018 logo in the right corner.  It reads nurses inspire, innovate, influence.

Dr. Nicole Cross is the type of person whose positivity, excitement, and passion for her work is immediately apparent and contagious from the minute you meet her.

"I love any opportunity that allows me to communicate with and educate others, whether it is public or motivational speaking, counseling, consulting, coaching, teaching, or journalism," she says. "When I can talk with other people, when I can help someone and support them in making important life decisions, that is when I'm the happiest."

Establishing a Successful Career & Expertise in Counseling

Today an accomplished journalist, educator, and mental health professional, Dr. Cross initially began her career focused on counseling. After earning a bachelor's in psychology and speech communications, a master’s in behavioral sciences, and a PhD in counselor education, Dr. Cross practiced in both private clinics and various public health agencies. Her career highlights include serving as the Texas Southern University Director of the Office of University Counseling, Career, and Disability Services and later as the Director of Counseling and Behavioral Health for The Potter's House of Dallas (a 30,000 member megachurch led by Pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes).

On the side, Dr. Cross served as a relationship expert for a Houston radio show and, in time, became an in-demand speaker at conferences, seminars, and events on effective communication practices, self-improvement, and relationships. She even found time to teach college courses online and in person.

Bridging Psychology, Health, & Journalism

By 30, Dr. Cross was happy with her success, yet was unsure of her next move up in counseling. Instead, she decided to recommit to her interest in journalism—something she first remembers exploring as part of her middle school newspaper. "You've got Dr. Oz and you've got Dr. Phil," she says. "Why not Dr. Cross?"

After studying broadcast journalism at the New York Film Academy, which later named her a distinguished alumni, Dr. Cross began working as a news anchor and health reporter. She started a “Healthy Living with Dr. Nicole” show and later hosted a personal health program featuring local health professionals. Most recently, in Austin, she led the popular Wellness Wednesday segment, educating viewers on how to talk to children about topics like friendships, relationships, and cyberbullying.

Since becoming a journalist in 2013, Dr. Cross has earned awards that include four Associated Press awards and an Emmy nomination for Breaking News Coverage. “I took a major risk trying something new, not knowing if I would sink or swim,” she says. “Those awards bring to life my philosophy that all things are possible. I use it as a testimonial to anyone willing to risk trying something new. The same rules apply: if you work hard, it will pay off.”

Returning to the Classroom

While anchoring in Austin, Dr. Cross began teaching at South University and soon found herself wanting to get more involved in the program; education is something Dr. Cross has always felt strongly about.

"The moments in my life that helped me and motivated me, as much as it was my family, it was also those educators who went the extra mile to keep me on the right path," she says. "I want to be that for someone. I want to be the reason someone works that much harder. Gets that extra degree or challenges themselves to go further than they expected or further than they've been exposed to in their personal lives."

In 2018, Dr. Cross became the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program Director at South University, Austin and is enjoying educating a new generation of counselors. "I'm at this stage in life when it's about significance and meaningfulness and purpose," she says. "It's about me being a change agent for others, and as Program Director I can do that."

Discover Our Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA) Program

Interested in a career in Clinical Mental Health Counseling? This Master of Arts degree program can help you prepare, allowing you to explore the theories, principles, and dynamic applications in the field, get training in effective assessment and treatment practices, study the significance of research in the field, and gain competence in ethical, legal, and professional standards. Request information or learn more today.

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A Nurse and Healthcare Professional’s Guide to Better Sleep

by South University
March 9, 2018
A photo of a nursing holding a sign that says sleep well.

From March 11 to 17, 2018, the National Sleep Foundation is celebrating Sleep Awareness Week, highlighting how good sleep habits help individuals perform their best. Yet, at South University--where over 65% of our students are in nursing and other health professions--we see firsthand how getting quality sleep is particularly difficult for many healthcare professionals. In this field, professionals regularly work nights and long, demanding shifts that make getting a normal night’s sleep challenging, even throwing off the body’s natural rhythms.

As a healthcare professional, you provide essential services to patients who count on you to be alert and at your best. Fatigue is a serious issue in healthcare and can lead to a decline in your own health and an increased risk of errors in your patient care work. So what can you do when you’re working odd or long hours and find yourself struggling to sleep? Below are tips that can help you sleep better, so that you’ll be healthy and ready for the day ahead.

1. Create a wind down ritual and sleep schedule.

Begin to relax at least an hour before going to sleep, and keep a consistent sleep and wake schedule, even when you’re not working. During that hour, avoid your tv or phone as the bright light can stimulate your brain. If you want to read, choose something relaxing that you’ll be able to set aside at bedtime.

A pre-bedtime routine can also be beneficial. Ease any tension with a warm bath or shower, and treat yourself to soothing lavender scents or calming essential oils. Then, clean your face, brush your teeth, and play relaxing music or white noise to signal to your brain that it’s time for sleep. If you’re often anxious at bedtime, keep a notepad nearby where you can jot down thoughts and reminders and consider learning a relaxation technique to help you fall asleep.

2. Improve your sleeping environment.

For starters, use your bedroom for sleeping only, keeping it clean of clutter and anything that might stress you out. You should also minimize light and noise. Light tells your brain to wake up; darkness does the opposite. Invest in room darkening curtains, cover illuminated clocks, and consider an eye mask.

Set your phone to alarm-only mode, leaving it upside down to damper any light it emits. If you worry about waking up on time, set multiple alarms to ease your concerns. If you live on a noisy street, use ear plugs if you can still hear your alarm, or try a white noise machine or a sleep sound smartphone app. Finally, lower your thermostat before bedtime; the best temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees.

3. Ask others to respect your schedule.

Get your friends and family on board with the importance of your sleep. If you have children, explain why you sleep when you do and ask that they only disturb you in an emergency. Request that your housemates avoid loud noisy activities or use headphones while you’re sleeping, and place a Do Not Disturb sign on your door to avoid being wakened by the doorbell.

4. Follow a healthy diet & exercise routine during waking hours.

Regular exercise can lower your stress levels and improve your sleep, so aim for at least 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise, ideally before your shift. Working out within a few hours of your bedtime can lead to trouble falling asleep. Don’t indulge on a huge meal before sleeping, but also avoid an empty stomach. Either one could wake you up in the middle of your sleep cycle. Caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol can also all disrupt your sleep, so avoid these items in the hours before you sleep. (See more of our tips for staying healthy here.)

Are you working in nursing or another healthcare profession? How do you balance your schedule so that you get the sleep you need? Join the conversation and share your advice with the South University community on Facebook.

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Career Outlook: Employment Growth and Salaries for Nurse Practitioners

by South University
April 4, 2017

Nurse practitioners play an essential role in our country’s healthcare system, working in collaboration with physicians or independently to provide primary and specialty care for their patients. If you’re considering pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner or enhancing your existing nursing practice leadership and knowledge, when it comes to both salary and employment growth, the outlook for nurse practitioners is promising!

Employment Growth for Nurse Practitioners

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2014 to 2024, nurse practitioner employment will grow across the country at a rate of 35%—a rate 5 times the average.

Nurse practitioners can expect particularly high demand in inner cities and rural areas, which are frequently medically underserved by physicians. Growth for the nurse practitioner career is anticipated due to factors that are also increasing demand for healthcare services. First, the number of people with health insurance is growing, and these newly insured individuals will want preventative and primary care providers—a role regularly filled by nurse practitioners. Second, as the large baby-boomer population continues to age, this group will also require increased care from nurse practitioners for chronic and acute conditions.

As of their most recent stats from 2015, the BLS estimates that 136,060 nurse practitioners are working in the United States, with Mississippi, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Tennessee having the highest concentration of nurse practitioner jobs in their state’s population.

Nurse Practitioner Salaries

In May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual wage for nurse practitioners of $98,190, noting that some positions also offer flexible hours, educational benefits, and childcare.

Not picky about where you live? Maybe you’re looking for adventure? In 2015, California, Alaska, and Hawaii reported the highest mean nurse practitioner salaries, each over $114,000, followed closely by Massachusetts and Oregon. Nurse practitioner salaries also vary based on your specialization and the area of the healthcare industry in which you work.

How to Build Your Career as a Nurse Practitioner

Interested in a career as a nurse practitioner? South University offers a master’s degree and postgraduate certificate programs with nurse practitioner specializations, including RN to MSN programs which do not require a BSN for admission. Combining online learning with on-site training, these programs are led by professional nursing instructors who can offer valuable support and mentorship as you develop your skills.

For those already working in nursing practice, South University also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program designed to help you enhance your clinical nursing practice, inquiry, and leadership skills. Explore our full list of Nursing programs available online and at our campus locations today!

Sources

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015 - Nurse Practitioners

South University does not guarantee employment of any particular level of compensation following graduation.

South University does not guarantee third-party certification/licensure. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to South University.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2017 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@southuniversity.edu.

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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The Role of Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners

by South University
November 30, 2015

As you may already know, nurse practitioners serve as important primary medical care providers for many patients across the United States. Among the various specialties nurse practitioners may have, adult gerontology primary care is one that could increase in importance as the average age of the US population continues to rise. Today, we look at the care and services adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioners offer patients.

Responsibilities

An Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) is a type of a nurse practitioner who specializes in caring for patients from adolescence to adulthood to old age. AGPCNPs provide acute, chronic and preventive healthcare services, coordinating with specialty physicians and other healthcare providers as needed.

On top of diagnosing, examining and treating their patients, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners typically offer routine checkups, assessments, immunizations, and one-on-one health counseling and education. In fact, providing education is a large part of their day and these nurse practitioners work closely with their patients to develop and implement healthy lifestyle and disease prevention plans, often involving things like diet, exercise and physical therapy in addition to any prescribed medications. AGPCNPs will also work with a patient's family to make sure family members are as involved and informed as needed to support the patient.

Places of Practice

Although state laws vary regarding scope of practice for nurse practitioners, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners in many states may have their own private practice in which they see patients in an office or provide home care or do both. AGPCNP may also work in a range of organizations including:

  • Long-term care and assisted living facilities
  • Healthcare clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Correctional centers and other settings with primary care services

Education

All Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioners have achieved licensure and credentialing beyond what is required to work as a registered nurse (RN). To practice, every nurse practitioner must complete a master’s degree program, with many earning additional post graduate certificates and even doctoral degrees. Over the course of their career, nurse practitioners continue to grow and maintain their knowledge of healthcare by completing regular continuing education courses and workshops.

Learn more about Nurse Practitioner Careers

To learn about nurse practitioner programs, careers and opportunities, read more articles about nurse practitioners on our blog or explore our Nursing programs, including those designed to prepare students for careers as Nurse Practitioners.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: South University, 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, GA 31406-4805 © 2015 South University. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@southuniversity.edu.

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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