Monthly Archives: February 2013

Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant are two health professions that sound alike and have some similarities, but are two different positions. Both of these positions work closely with patients, and provide help and medical advice without becoming a doctor.

Here's the difference:

A Nurse Practitioner (NP) must be a Registered Nurse with advanced academic achievement and additional experience in medical settings. In most cases, in order to be a NP, it is necessary to have a Masters degree in nursing or some field related to health care. The NP should also have additional clinical experience; ie, hands-on knowledge related to the treatment of disease, and also of diagnosis.

The NP can diagnose, manage most illnesses and provide general family health as well as develop treatment plans for them. There are many specialty areas associated with Nurse Practitioners such as geriatric nursing, pediatrics, neonatal care, adult health, public health and many others.

Nurse Practitioners can diagnose diseases, including some chronic diseases, develop treatment plans for them and are authorized to write prescriptions, order tests, and have hospital privileges.

According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, they can work close to 36 hours a week, and earn a median salary of $73,620 /yr.

A Physician's Assistant (PA) does not work alone in a practice but performs their duties under a doctor's supervision. The PA can also diagnose disease and write prescriptions, but at the direction of a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.) The PA does not have as much authority as a NP, but does work with autonomy depending on competence and doctor's delegation.

Assistants also can engage in diagnosis of common illnesses, come up with treatment plans, and prescribe medications on a limited basis. They cannot prescribe narcotics, and there may be some other limitations, which can vary on a state by state basis (since a Physician Assistant is licensed by the state). PA's are also able to order tests, and interpret the results of x-rays and laboratory tests. They can examine patients and treat minor injuries.  Physician assistant programs generally take 26 months of full-time study to complete.   See educational requirements for PA's below:

Physician Assistants may also have specialties similar to the NP; they can assist during surgeries and also work at hospitals, under proper supervision.

According to American Academy of Physician’s Assistants, the median salary for a Physician Assistant is $69,517 /yr. working approximately 32 hours a week.

These two positions are increasing in the healthcare area and can be great jobs, with opportunity to provide patients with quality health care, and educate them about better health practices. You may need a four-year degree to get started. The NP will have increased responsibilities and a PA will be starting out on a rewarding career path.

NOTE: A nurse practitioner (NP) is an advanced practice registered nurse who holds a graduate-level degree. While in most states RNs currently need only a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to become nurse practitioners, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has proposed that the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) be the minimum requirement for all advanced practice nurses by 2015.

Reference: Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Marie Coppola February 2013


Seniors love social gatherings – it gives them a chance to talk about their grandkids’ latest superior achievements or their latest ailment or ‘procedure’. The hardest part is what to wear to parties and weddings. And yes, even funerals. They, too, have a social aspect. But you still have to have something presentable to wear.

It dawns on women somewhere in their 5th or 6th or 7th decade that they truly have no clue what other people have worn to prior ‘dress-up’ occasions; they have enough trouble remembering what THEY wore. Why get all worked up on what they will wear? So here is what I do.

I always look first in the closet and there’s that great little black dress that somehow has grown to a size 12 ~ it used to be a size 8. ~ I love stretchy fabrics. This little dress is appropriate for all occasions from funerals to weddings. Maybe....perhaps...a trip to the store will spiff up it’s appearance if I find some new accessories, and maybe, just maybe, even come across a brand new dressy, more youthful outfit. We have a family wedding next weekend.

Shopping for a spiffy new dress can be tedious and stressful. Most cocktail dresses are of the cling-y, nylon-y stretch-y material that suck up to your body, cling and bind, and show off all your curves, bulges and second stomachs. Even cellulite wants to be seen.

Is that my belly button indention? Oh, that’s not attractive. Why is it shorter in the front than in the back? Oh, yes, my two stomachs. But, you say, it looks smashing. Thank you, saleslady, but maybe a nice two-piece outfit would look better. Oh, they’re over there? Do they have elastic waistbands?

Uh, Oh. Don’t they make two-piece outfits where the top part covers your torso? Is there something wrong with all these mirrors? Are those my boobs plunging out of the top? Miss, do you have any outfits that go up to the neck? No, not in this department? Try Super Misses X sizes? OK. Where is it? Upstairs? Behind the elevator and next to the tent department? I’ll find it.

You can tell the Misses X department by the wide arrangement of wide clothes. But, she lied. They all have plunging necklines (what is this obsession to hang out your boobs?) and the clothes still cling to your body but more so in folds — who needs more folds? Miss, are you sure this isn’t the maternity department? No, of course I’m not pregnant. But thanks for the compliment; it implies I am young enough to get pregnant.   No, I’m not interested in the maternity department. No, thank you,  No, I don’t care where it is.

Maybe Lane Bryant has something – well – more mature and in style.

Hi, yes, I’m looking for a dressy cocktail dress that is not plunging, not clinging, below my knee-caps, and not made in Thailand, China or Malaysia. I’d like it to flatter my two stomachs and my behind and hide my imperfections and cellulite and have a built-in tummy reducer and bra reducer. Also, the top has to be smaller than the bottom and above my nipple line. Oh, and I prefer an elastic waist.

You have nothing like that? Well, thank you, anyway.

We had a great time at the wedding. My 10-year old little black dress that has somehow expanded to fit my body through all these years looked great. Everyone commented on my “new” dress, but I think they really meant my old body that somehow could adapt to an ‘old dress’ to make it look presentable. I love this dress – so much so that I think I will wear it to the funeral on Wednesday.

They don’t make dresses like this anymore. When it falls apart, I guess my social life will, too.

© Marie Coppola Revised October 4, 2015



Registered Nurse positions are higher than licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants. Nurses can hold positions in hospitals, doctors' offices, corporate entities or schools. The work time of this profession is variable. They can work in the evening or on-call hours and face many kinds of medical situations. If you work as an RN, you will be paid well and, at the same time, you will get the satisfaction by having important effects on patient's lives and their family members.

Other responsibilities are: being responsible for patients' needs, providing their care, and address their health issues in many conditions such as ambulatory care, intensive care, health care clinics, etc. The variety in its job makes the RN more opportunities to open professional doors especially during the nursing shortage and the need for qualified nurse's abilities. For those of you who are natural caretakers, this profession can be your career option.

It is estimated that half a million new nurses will be needed by 2018.

As health care reform will focus on preventative care, the demand for nurses will increase, especially with aging baby boomers. Nursing has a spectrum of degrees and levels such as LPN, RN, BSN, MSN, Nurse anethestist, NP, DN. The salary depends on the type of degree and the type of job you choose. It is good advice to choose a discipline based on interest and passion and not based on salary.

Working in hospitals, clinics, and doctors' offices, nurses help keep patients healthy, treat illnesses and injuries. As health care reform may insure more persons, more nurses will be needed. Hospital nurses are needed 24/7.

Training options:

Associate's degree in nursing

Bachelor's degree in nursing

Nursing diploma

Median salary: $62,450

Ref: Registered Nurse - A Challenging Career Choice

Marie Coppola February 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Faith is defined in Wikipedia as "Faith is hope, belief or trust in an entity or idea that is not based on material proof."   Martin Luther King, Jr. defines it as:  "Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."

Many persons receive their personal faith in God or a higher power through being handed down through the generations in their families. When family unity is strong or intact, the beliefs of their family and extended family generally follow the next generations' belief system. Some families believe in 'let them choose faith themselves when they are older', but faith is hard to establish without early seeds of planting the basics of what faith is. You can't just 'choose' something you've never experienced.   Many people with no faith want to know how to get it or help them get it.   It's simply opening your heart to acceptance of it.   A blueprint or background helps them understand better.

Whatever the denomination or religious belief the family follows, it usually encompasses rituals, beliefs, and traditions based on reverence, devotion, loyalty to beliefs, good works and lifestyles. There are numerous faiths in our world, and my aim here is to appeal to parents to instill their own faith, or beliefs or good values or morality and ethics to their children. If these virtues are learned as a child, the seeds will be planted and take root.  A conscience will develop to the good or virtues in life and avoid the bad.

How can parents do this?    By teaching them the values they themselves learned as children and share these gifts with their children when they are very young. Talk to your kids about what is right and what is wrong.  Foster friendships with families whose family life you respect and want to imitate.  Take your kids to a place of worship. Children love the unity of sharing faith with family and this unity rewards all family members.

We live in a fast-changing world.  Technology can be a good thing and sometimes it is not. Everything is speeded up; even games. Especially video games. A friend mentioned to me that her grandchildren get bored with movies like Bambi, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp - the Disney Classics, etc. because they are 'boring', 'too slow', and 'not exciting.  They have missed  the 'messages' these movies taught about loyalty, love, and good vs. evil.

These values need to be taught in the home, but many times, today's families are fractured; perhaps led by a single parent, or perhaps some families are caught up in endless activities, working and school sports or clubs.

So where do the younger generations learn about morality, ethics, respect, and fair play if everyone is too busy to be role models or teach them?  From Hollywood and pop stars? Our politicians? Who ARE our kids' role models? Are you?   Do you teach them about spirituality, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, Rules to Live By or any doctrines?   How will they learn to love one another, forgive others, and respect others?   By your example and by your faith.

Where do they learn about bullying, hurting people who they 'don't like' or thinking about violence in the school to get back at someone. Did they ever learn that murder is wrong or revengeful gossiping can hurt people or it isn't right to publicly insult people on Facebook that some kids have committed suicide?  Or teaching them that wanting and needing every new tech device or latest fad negates thinking about helping someone less fortunate than themselves.  Are they Numero Uno in all they do?  If so, chances are, they always will be,  if they are not taught otherwise.   And that will affect their parents' future relationships with them.

Most schools don't teach social skills or moral values. Or how to play fair, love fair or how not to priortize their interests to the detriment of others.

Your house of faith, temple, or churches do teach these values.  Bring your kids to your house of worship. Yes, sometimes  small children get cranky or noisy, but they quickly adapt.  And when they grow up will probably take their own kids. You will reap a bond with your children through your common beliefs and traditions. Your faith will help your family through turbulent times, hardships and personal malfunctions. It is sorely needed today and sorely absent.

Faith brings people and families together. A family that prays together usually stays together. Couples, too. If a person disappoints you, knowing that you share the same faith can bring you close again. If a person deeply loves you, faith can bring you even more the best joy in life you've ever had. If you are alone, faith can provide a path and blessings that you never experienced. Faith isn't a crutch or a substitute - it's a blessing that will stay with you forever and will multiply.

"Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." ~Galatians 6:7    Sow some good seeds today and plant them in your children.    They will become the fruits of your labor and you will all  be blessed.

© Marie Coppola   Updated February 2021


Education is a booming commodity, even in a recession. Secondary school teachers in the United States earned average annual wages of $51.312 (

According to Occupational Outlook Handbook, “Through 2018, overall student enrollments in elementary, middle, and secondary schools—a key factor in the demand for teachers—are expected to rise more slowly than in the past as children of the baby-boom generation leave the school system.

Projected enrollments will vary by region. Rapidly growing states in the South and West will experience the largest enrollment increases..." . Teachers who are geographically mobile and who obtain licensure in more than one subject are likely to have a distinct advantage in finding a job.”

New jobs that are expected to enter the market will help ensure a career future for teachers. About 479,000 new jobs are expected through 2008 -2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That means excellent job opportunities for teachers at the preschool through high school level.

Working with kids guarantees you'll never be bored plus you will have the satisfaction of making a real difference in the next generation.

Recommended Training:

Early Childhood Education

Bachelor's degree plus certification

The median salary for a typical Teacher in elementary school in Charleston, SC is $48,090 (

The median salary for a typical Elementary School Teacher in the U.S. is $51,312 (

Additional reading:  Nationwide Update: School Teachers Needed More than Ever ~ by Gabby Hyman

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-2011 Edition, Teachers-Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary

Marie Coppola Revised February 2013



First female African-American police officer

There are growing career opportunities in local and national law enforcement. If you have the passion and desire to improve your community by serving and protecting its citizens, you may be interested in this career choice.

Due to the current economic conditions, many police departments are seeing an increase in crime along with cuts in their budgets and employees. The federal stimulus plan has provisions for local law enforcement careers. It is called the COPS Program which stands for Community Oriented Policing Services. Their mission is to add 100,000 police officers to local departments within eight years. The New York Times reported that nearly 100 percent of the career provision money goes to creating jobs.

Police officers handle:

Investigations of crimes like theft and assault

Traffic Control at the scene of an accident

First aid response at accidents

Many of these full-time careers listed below can be had with short certificate or diploma training with full-time schedules.

Careers may also exist in homeland security positions such as cyber security engineers, network defense analysts, database administration specialists, maritime law enforcement, SUI Investigator and other investigator jobs.

Requirements may include:

Law Enforcement Certificate;

High School Diploma or Equivalent;

Associates Degree,

Criminal Justice Degree,

On the job Training

Requirement is dependent on level of job

Ref: Encarta degree & Training; Amelia Gray; Yahoo

Marie Coppola Revised February 2013

By Ron Quinlan, a special guest writer. 

A Valentine to You from God  

My beloved child,

Yes, you are my beloved child. I know this is hard for you to believe. You see all your mistakes and failures, all the times you lost your temper, all the times you’ve hurt people, all the times you stayed away from me. You look at yourself and see your failures.

I look at you and see your beauty. I see the love you’ve given to those you encountered in your life. I see the times you tried to love others, all the times you’ve given of yourself. I see a beautiful person struggling to become the person you were created to be.

There is a beauty and love deep inside of you. Right now you may not see it but someday the whole world will look at you and see this rare beauty, someone very special and unique, a gift to the world, my gift and my beloved child.

So often you’ve been afraid of me. You run and try to hide, hoping that I won’t notice your mistakes. You run, doing everything you can to stay busy, too busy to think, to talk to me. You run but I long for your company. I long to shower you with my love, to pour my blessings upon you. I yearn to comfort and console you, to be there for you in your pain. My desire is to take care of you. My passion is for you to come to me, seeking me, to know and love me.

I want you to know that I know everything you ever done and I love you with a passion so intense that human words can not describe it. Your past is forgiven and forgotten. I remember nothing you confessed. I passionately desire to forgive you everything. All you have to do is repent and confess.

Come to me; come so that I may pour my blessings upon you. There is so much I want to give you. I want to do so much for you. I want you to know my peace. I want to set you free from the guilt that robs your joy; from the fear that plagues you, from the worry and anxiety that is tearing you apart. I want you to know my joy, to know my freedom and love.

Come, now! There is nothing you have to change or do, no improvements you have to make before you come to me. Come as you are. I love you exactly as you are. Just, come!

Marie Coppola  February 14, 2013


Although Valentine's Day is the day for love to be expressed, there is a portion of our very diverse world that brings some realities to the forefront.  Don't throw away the sampled chocolate creams, bitten into, and then  left in the Valentine box or try to throw them at any dissenters of the Love Day.  It's good to let those you love know how much they mean to you.  But let's look at the other side of the coin, only for purposes of fairness.  It seems gals seem to get more caught up in Valentine's Day than guys do.   Wanting to do the same thing that day is a plus for happy hearts.   If not, you may have to vote on what you will do.

For example, there are people (okay, I mean guys) who would open their eyes in horror at the thought of their in-laws or anybody being invited for dinner if Valentine's Day fell on the day of the Super Bowl game. Most guys just aren't going to be great dining partners on this day, unless you leave the TV on, in view from the table, and no one speaks while the game is on.  Except at half time.  And even then.  Hey, there is great entertainment going on.  (I loved Eli and Odell dirty dancing).    Even the great commercials get 'quiet time'.   Let's be fair again - women love Super Bowl. too.  And women come in handy on Super Bowl day if it's falls on February 14th - to remind their Valentine to get up once in awhile to walk around to avoid blood clots from sitting so long.   If your man is a get up, shout, yell, or 'flay his hands at plays' kind of man  - you need not remind him as much.

I love Valentine's Day whenever it is -- I am a romantic and this is THE LOVE DAY. Saying that, I am not responsible for any comments or remarks that come out of this poll quiz - a comparison of woman and men's views of what they prefer to do on Valentine's Day.

Okay, here is the quiz ~ which of these Valentine ' ideas' 'are men's or women's?  And which one appeals to both of you?

Place a letter  M  (men)  Or F (female)  or B (Both) at your preferred activity:

1.  I would rather write a poem expressing my love and devotion, tie it with handmade ribbons and valentines, and present it to my sweetheart after I have made a special dinner and fed my love chocolates and bon bons while he/she relaxes on the couch.  Or...

2.  I would rather watch any or all sport events scheduled for that day and give a card during commercials.   If its sunny that day -- maybe  wash the car.  Or...

3.  I would rather brush my love's hair, listen to all she/he did this past week, and go for a leisurely walk holding hands.  And then a quiet dinner - just we two - out somewhere.   Or...

4.  I would rather catch up texting with my friends  & check out  Facebook and maybe play a video game or two.  Or...

5.  I'd rather take my sweetie on a Valentine Hunt to different stores for coffee and doughnuts, visit home-made chocolate stores, and the bakery to let him/her know how sweet he/she is to me. Even if I am accused later for a five pound weight gain from my 'gift'.  Or...

6. I'd rather jam with my friends for a few hours and then chill out with them for awhile and then take a long nap on the sofa.   Or...

7.  I'd rather sing a made-up love song - maybe a rap love song - and play part of it on my recorder which I haven't played since fifth grade.   Or...

8.  I'd rather watch the Women's Ice Hockey scheduled that day - these women rock - they're no sissies.    Or...

9.  I'd rather share a pizza and then relax on the sofa while watching a rented, sappy chick-flick and cuddle.   Or...

10.  I'd rather my love make a great dinner and then we'd  watch a high-action thriller movie. My love can pop the popcorn and pour us wine.

Extra points as a couple if you pick the same activity.  Are you a match made in Heaven or a loner candidate for Valentine's Day?   In any event, Show the Love.

© Marie Coppola Revised February 2017

'It's all a matter of restraint and simple exercise'.

Why is it with all the media hype about diets and losing weight, that so many of us are still fat and getting fatter?

The New York Times made the announcement:  "Americans are continuing to get fatter and fatter with obesity rates reaching 30 percent or more in nine states last year as opposed to only 3 states in 2007." That means that 2.4 million more people became obese from 2007 to 2009 totaling 72.5 million or 26.7 percent of the population.

Obesity rates have doubled in adults and tripled in children in the past 30 years and that rate may be underestimated.

Reading these figures compelled me to reread the best-selling book, "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano.[2005] Mademoiselle Guiliano, an 18 year-old French exchange student, spent a year as a exchange student in Weston suburb, in Boston, Massachusetts. Discovering bagels, brownies and chocolate chip cookies, she acquired an extra 20 pounds.

To this day, she hurtfully remembers her father meeting her upon her return and telling her she looked like a sack of potatoes. She then proceeded to gain even more weight. The family doctor finally detoxed her, taught her willpower, gave her healthy recipes and reintroduced her to the classic principles of French cuisine. She became an avid walker.

Today, she dines out 300 times a year on two and three course meals including a glass of Champagne. And she is thin. How did she do it? "To have no guilt or deprive yourself but to get the most from the things you most enjoy."

In her book, Mireille explains how anyone can eat, drink and move like a French woman. This includes portion control, following the French Women Manifesto, and following her recipes. Mireille attributes the French women's penchant for slimness to their attitude toward food, which focuses on the best and freshest ingredients consumed in moderation, and frequent, brisk walking.

It is all a matter of restraint and simple exercise. She advises to practice some physical exertion 'all your life' and you'll be in better shape to continue. And it is never too late to start. A little stroll can result in a reliable daily accomplishment. Check out your local community center. They probably offer aerobics, pilates, zumba, and other fitness classes. The French women themselves are proof this does indeed work.

Marie Coppola Revised February 2013

Ref: New York Times; "French Women Don't Get Fat" by Mireille Guiliano.[2005]

When visiting South Carolina, PLEASE do not feed the alligators!

The good news first: South Carolina is a great state to visit or retire to - droves of retirees move here every year. Why not? it's beautiful country, inexpensive, balmy winter weather, close to the beach and water, lots of attractions and places to go with myriads of same-age friends to socialize with.

The bad news: The American alligator is native only to the southeastern United States, where it inhabits wetlands that frequently overlap with human-populated areas. Wetlands abound in South Carolina. We have them behind our house.   Occasionally we hear of them entering a home or swimming in someone's backyard pool.

Wildlife experts estimate there are 100,000 alligators in South Carolina. These extremely powerful creatures, with cat-like quickness from the snap of their heads to the crushing whip of their tails, can be dangerous, and weigh hundreds of pounds. Most wild alligators (are there any other kind?) do not get above 13 feet in length and weigh 600 pounds. The record one is over 19 feet. Not something you'd like to step outside in your back yard and run into.

Alligators are on the shy side and normally do not chase or bother people unless their nest is provoked or you get closer than 15 feet to them. And people do that all that time. For some unfathomable reason, people may think that if they get close to an alligator, the alligator may invite them for a swim or to see their young. Not. They have good eyesight and can run very quickly to overtake a human. Sometimes alligators become disoriented when their natural habitat is compromised and have been seen swimming in lovely developments' community swimming pools. We had such an occurrence a few miles from our home here on the east coast - a five foot alligator taking a swim in a backyard pool.

And alligators are good press copy. Recently three Critter Manaement workers removed a "monster" of an alligator -- an 11-foot long, 500 pound alligator from a tiny lagoon in the Hilton Head area. And recently, too, part of a man's arm was bitten off by an alligator as he leaned to retrieve his golf ball at a private South Carolina course, officials said this past Friday. The man, in his 70s, was bitten by a 10-foot alligator on Thursday afternoon at Ocean Creek Golf Course in Beaufort County.

Alligators eat fish, birds, turtles, snakes, mammals and amphibians. They will also eat small fish at any opportunity. As they grow, they gradually move on to larger fish, mollusks, frogs, and small mammals like rats and mice. Some adult alligators take a larger variety of prey ranging from snakes, turtles or birds to and moderate-sized mammals like a racoon or deer. Once an alligator reaches adulthood, any animal living in the water or coming to the water to drink is potential prey. Adult alligators will also eat wild boars, deer, and dogs of all sizes, and livestock including cattle and sheep.

The purpose of my article is to plead with tourists and even natives of South Carolina and all southern states: Please do not feed alligators. Dogs and cats disappear all the time from golf course communities - where at least one or two alligators reside -- in the ponds on golf courses.

Never feed or entice alligators - it's dangerous and illegal. When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and learn to associate people with food. Some unknowing people with small children with them have been fined for feeding alligator; the alligator could view the child as possible food. Don't feed ANY wildlife in or near the water. Again, it may create a situation where an alligator sees these events and begins to associate people with food.

To keep the alligators at bay in South Carolina, 1,200 excited people take to the public waters of South Carolina for the annual alligator hunt. The season opens in September and closes a month later, with each licensed hunter allowed to capture one alligator. The sport is popular in the Palmetto State. The number of permits sought by enthusiasts and granted by the state has grown each year since it became legal two years ago.

Do I partake? Nope - the only alligators I ever want to see are at an alligator attraction down by nearby Barefoot Landing, a popular North Myrtle Beach tourist spot. They are contained and all I ever hope to see.

© Marie Coppola Revised February 2013