Nurses Named Among ‘Top 25 Women in Healthcare’

May 31, 2011 at 6:25 am

In the past I’ve posted about the essential roles nurses play in healthcare and the lack of recognition they get for all their important work.  Finally some nurses are getting the recognition they deserve!  Nursing students, take note of their accomplishments!

Nurse.com reports:

Two California nurse leaders have been named by Modern Healthcare Magazine among its Top 25 Women in Healthcare. They are Linda Burnes Bolton, RN, DrPH, FAAN, vice president and CNO of Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, and Deborah Proctor, RN, BSN, MSN, president and CEO of St. Joseph Health System in Orange, Calif.

The biennial honor recognizes women who are making positive differences in the industry by providing leadership and mentorship. They are selected from a pool of more than 300 healthcare professionals from across the nation.

Burnes Bolton most recently demonstrated her ability to effect change on a national level through her role as vice chairwoman of the Initiative on the Future of Nursing, a joint effort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Institute of Medicine. The initiative, led by Donna Shalala, PhD, president of the University of Miami, was a two-year effort to: identify solutions to the challenges faced by the nursing profession; to improve the quality of healthcare in the U.S.; and to transform how it is delivered.

Proctor leads a nine-hospital system with facilities in California, Texas and New Mexico. She took the helm at St. Joseph in 2006, and since then has focused on enacting a three-prong agenda that promotes a patient-centric focus of care, respect for others and healthy communities.

Read the full list at www.modernhealthcare.com.

Notice how the two nurses who were honored both hold higher education degrees?  There’s no doubt about it, having a background in higher education opens door for nurses who want to go on to effect significant changes in the healthcare system.  If you’re interested in furthering your nursing career, do consider getting your BS in Nursing through an RN-BSN program.  Completing this degree will serve as a major stepping stone for advancing your career in countless ways.

Nurses on Forefront to Protect Hospitals’ Reputations

May 30, 2011 at 7:26 pm

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90,000 patients die per year due to preventable infections resulting from routine surgeries and hospital care. Because of this terribly high number, two dozen states and new Medicare laws have required hospitals to report infections which puts their reputations on the line. RNs and BSNs are on the battlefront to protect their patients as well as their hospital’s good name.

Sarah Varney, reporter for NPR news, writes that, “It’s been more than a decade since a panel of top scientists declared hospital safety a national priority… Examples [of preventable deaths due to infection] include infections resulting from contaminated tubes that deliver food and medications, and catheters that remove urine. Staph infections, which can be deadly, are a particularly serious problem.”

RN to BSN students are going to be required to adapt to these new procedures to ensure patient safety which includes constant hand washing, daily patient baths, and new equipment to make the environment more sanitary. Varney states that, “Now, hand washing at Pacific Hospital, especially in the ICU, is so routine that nurses complain their hands are chapped. That’s just one of many changes. Nurses here wash patients every day. Janitors are given enough time to properly clean rooms. Even those coming in for surgery are asked to take a shower before showing up.”

Dr. Alfonso Torress-Cook of Pacific Hospital “opened a closet to show off another weapon in the hospital’s anti-infection arsenal: an ultraviolet light, hooked up to the hospital’s air ventilation system, that kills airborne germs.”

Not only are hospitals eager to comply with this law because their reputation is on the line, but also because dollars are at stake. For hospitals that don’t report their infection numbers, Medicare will hold back two percent of its payment. “The fear of losing millions of dollars isn’t an idle threat. Starting this year, hospitals have to reveal their catheter-associated blood stream infections if they want their Medicare bills paid in full. Next year, they’ll have to report surgical-site infections. The list will grow longer in the coming years,” reported Varney.

Although this may cause more work, as a patient I am for this new program. Preventative measures will save money (patients with infections cost approximately $42,000) and will preserve the integrity of hospitals and their staff. Those in an RN to BSN program will also be able to view these reports and can better assess the quality of hospital that they would like to work for.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://www.npr.org/2011/05/28/136712657/hospitals-face-new-pressure-to-cut-infection-rates

Don’t Let Excuses Keep You From Going Back to Nursing School

May 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

The times are a-changin’! So many people are going back to school to pursue a higher education or to change careers. The old fears of age barriers and high costs are now not valid excuses to prevent you from returning to the classroom. If you are considering going back to school, just do it! Whether you are looking for a campus or an accredited online RN to BSN program, start a new chapter in your life today.

Rebekah Child wrote an article on ScrubsMag.com about why the top five reasons for going back to school are no longer relevant. Here are some of her reasons:

1) I’m too old. – My friend’s mom just got her RN degree two years ago. Now she loves her job and even started dating again. (Okay, that has nothing to do with nursing, but it is about starting over!) You’re never too old to pursue your dream, and no matter your age you still have a lot of life to live. You have two choices: living a life of “what if’s” or live life to the fullest.

2) I hate writing papers – No one is going to like everything about every course or every job. Deal with it!

3) I’m not good with computers – Computers are crazy complicated, but if you’re willing to learn there always seems to be someone willing to teach you. Maybe a nephew, daughter, friend’s son, etc. would spend a couple hours showing you the basics or maybe a summer computer class would be helpful. Once you get a feel for technology, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

4) I don’t like going to class – There are so many great online schools out there! Find the one that’s right for you and go for it. You can study and do your coursework on your schedule and from home.

5) It’s too expensive – There are many scholarships and grants available. You just have to find them. Plus, if you meet with a school that you’re interested in, they usually have some great ideas on how to come up with the funding.

Now is the time to go back to school if you’ve been sitting on the fence. Nurses are in high demand and the need is only increasing. Apply to an RN to BSN program today!

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please go to:
http://scrubsmag.com/get-back-in-school-already/

Doctors Thank Nurses

May 27, 2011 at 3:44 am

We all know that nurse – doctor interactions can often be tense and unpleasant.  This is something all RN-BSN students should brace themselves for before entering the work force.  There’s a definite hierarchy in hospitals that places nurses below doctors.  Because of this hierarchy some doctors undervalue nurses despite having to rely on their work and knowledge.  More often than not, doctors would be lost without the help of nurses, but many are too prideful to admit this.  Here are a couple doctors who aren’t and would like to let nurses know how much they appreciate them:

Eyes and Ears:
Patricia Abboud, MD, a pediatric intensivist at Dayton Children’s Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, says she can’t isolate just one story about nurses because the ones she works with are all wonderful. She writes:

I am very grateful for ALL the Pediatric ICU nurses I work with. Their level of skill, professionalism, empathy and compassion is exceptional. I rely on their assessments HEAVILY to manage the most critically ill patients in our hospital. In our institution we don’t have in-house attending 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That said, I rely on the nurses’ assessments and interpretations of the patients when I am not able to be at the bedside. I often refer to them as my “eyes and ears.”

Tragedy Averted
A misplaced decimal point made Stephen Herman, MD, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, realize why good nurses are invaluable members of healthcare teams. He recalls the incident clearly; it was his first year out of medical school and he was doing a pediatrics internship.

“I had been up all night, on call, and the next morning I was making rounds, visiting some very sick infants,” he explains. “I wrote an order on a chart for an antibiotic, but I didn’t put the decimal in the right place, and had the nursing staff given what I ordered, we probably would have lost the baby if not caused severe damage to the kidneys or other organs.”

A nurse on the floor picked up on the mistake and approached Herman about it, and he corrected the order. “She saved my behind,” he says with relief and a great deal of gratitude. He adds that this was so long ago that he doesn’t remember the nurse’s name, but acknowledges that situations like this likely are still common today, and that the knowledge and experience of nurses can save the day.

These tributes to nurses were collected by Cynthia Dusseault with ScrubsMag.  To read more doctors’ tributes to nurse, please visit: http://scrubsmag.com/doctor-tributes-to-nurses/

While doctors should never be let off the hook for undervaluing nurses, we can at least take solace knowing that some of them really do appreciate our work.

Nurses Improving Healthcare Access through Medical Homes

May 26, 2011 at 4:28 am

As healthcare costs and demand continue to soar, access becomes more important than ever.  Advanced practice nurses are helping to alleviate the problem of access by focusing on improving safety in medical homes.  This is yet another reason the role of nurses is so imperative in today’s medical world.  They are offering innovative ways to deal with age old problems and help the neediest of people.   BSN students and prospective nurses should be aware of the contributions their workforce is making.

In an article for Nurse.com Debra Anscombe Wood, RN, reports on the importance and quality of care provided through medical homes, a trend led by nurses.  She writes:

Medical homes (aka healthcare homes) led by advanced practice nurses offer a new twist on delivering old fashioned healthcare. In the medical homes model — which is based on knowing a patient’s needs, coordinating care, motivating change and improving safety and patient outcomes — clinicians provide comprehensive primary care while sharing decision-making with the patient. And while the concept dates back decades, the nurse-led model of delivering patient-centered primary care received attention more recently by its inclusion in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Dee Swanson, NP-C, MSN, FAANP, a board member of the National Alliance for Quality Care and a family nurse practitioner in a rural clinic in Nashville, Ind., says a medical home is about giving the right type of evidence-based care, not too much and not too little, to the right person at the right time by the right provider. But safety in a medical home extends beyond ensuring that the right patient receives the appropriate diagnostics and treatment at the correct time.

“When you have an integrative healthcare model, you can address not only the medical problems but also mental health behavioral problems, dietary issues, exercise issues and life coaching, and that all leads to safety,” Swanson said.

Medical homes also reduce the potential that someone will fall through the cracks, Lyon says. The process for making sure nothing is missed includes confirming the patient received the correct medication or test on time and tracking patients in a registry that allows the practice to reach out to the patient more often, if needed.

“The safety in the healthcare home model comes from a patient-centered approach,” says Penny Kaye Jensen, APRN, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, president of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a nurse practitioner in the primary care clinics at the George E. Wahlen Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City and an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Utah. “In the healthcare home concept, we are expanding safety and quality to ensure patients do not miss getting the right screening tests and preventive services at the right time, such as immunizations and mammograms, and that individuals with chronic diseases receive the recommended treatments and routine monitoring to stay on track.

To read the entire article, please visit: http://news.nurse.com/article/20110523/NATIONAL01/305230011/-1/frontpage

For RN-BSN students and aspiring nurses who aren’t exactly sure what area of medicine they would like to practice in, providing care through medical homes should be something to consider.  As the article describes above, important contributions are being made through the integrative healthcare model.  Medical homes seem like an environment where nurses are really able to showcase their compassion, knowledge and skills.  All in all, medical homes are areas where nurses can cooperate and take charge in empowering ways.

Nurses Help in Joplin Tornado Disaster

May 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I am amazed at all of the natural disasters that are hitting our world: Japan, Alabama and now Missouri. The images are heartbreaking and many people are wondering what they can do to make a difference. RN and BSN nurses are joining the rescue crews to help those devastated and injured in the most recent tornado tragedy which hit Joplin, Missouri.

Melissa McClendon, staff reporter for The Daily Times, focused on one such story as Sgt. 1st Class Trevin Powell and Licensed Practical Nurse Blair Fletcher headed to the disaster area. “When the e-mail went out for medical professionals, Fletcher said she was willing to go. The 2004 Locust Grove graduate works for a nursing agency that often sends nurses to Joplin hospitals and she volunteered to take a shift.

“I just felt like I should go,” Fletcher said.

Upon arrival, Fletcher and Powell went to several stores, gas stations and restaurants to check to see if anyone was trapped or injured. “The locals then headed to Walmart where they began a search for anyone left in the store. Powell said a security guard told them that when the storm hit there were 300-400 people inside the store. Powell said there were three confirmed dead from that location,” stated McClendon.

Working in a disaster zone is obviously difficult work, but until you’re there the reality and difficulties can’t truly be experienced.

“Powell and Fletcher briefly viewed a residential area of Joplin.

“’We did go through a neighborhood as far as we could go,’ Fletcher said. ‘The houses were in shreds.’

“Fletcher said it was difficult being on the scene at night after the search was called off.

“‘As much as you wanted to search, you couldn’t. It was dark, 2 in the morning,’ Fletcher said. ‘It’s just terrible. I wasn’t prepared for that at all.’

“Fletcher said she was overwhelmed by the experience and didn’t sleep very well after spending the night searching for the missing.

“’You have to have compassion, but at the same time you have to turn off your emotions and just do your work. I think that was everyone’s mentality,’ Fletcher said.”

Many go back to school to become an RN to BSN because of their strong sense of compassion. Being able to help others, whether at home or traveling to help others in need, is all part of being in the medical profession.

To read the complete article mentioned in this post, please visit:
http://pryordailytimes.com/local/x898212077/Nurse-and-veteran-go-to-storm-site

The Perks of Nursing

May 25, 2011 at 5:58 am

In almost every single post we write, we mention at least one perk that comes with being a nurse.  If you’re trying to decide whether or not you want to become a nurse, or if you’re currently in an RN-BSN or other nursing program, then check out this summary of reasons to love nursing.  Also, if you know you want to be a nurse but are feeling uncertain about the benefits, this list compiled by nurse Amy Bozeman with ScrubsMag should help reassure you:

The pay. Yes, nursing is a job, and yes, I do appreciate the income I receive for working hard. The latest statistics on the Internet state that after around five years, nurses make a median income of about $55,000/year. For me that means that my initial investment of 3 years time in nursing school and about $12,000 tuition has resulted in a pretty nice return.

Job security. Despite the arguments for and against the reality of a nursing shortage, my recent job search exemplifies what I believe: that nurses are in high demand. Searching for a job in a bad economy showed me that even a nurse with an associate degree and less than two years experience can get a job across the country (after multiple offers) sight unseen! The reality is that experienced nurses seem to be a hot commodity in any economy.

Continual learning. It amazes me that no matter if I am on the job or working on an advanced degree, the amount of knowledge I gain in my vocation is truly limitless. If anything, my brain has too much info to absorb! And isn’t continued, lifetime learning a key to staying young…at mind?

The hours. There aren’t many professions with such flexible hours—from the 8 hour shifts, the 3 or 5 days a week shifts, PRN shifts, 12 hour shifts day or night, office hours, etc.—we nurses have a lot to choose from which makes our lives outside work that much more manageable.

The benefits. As a fulltime nurse, I get great benefits for little out of pocket pay. In this healthcare climate…enough said! (And probably a great topic for another blog!)

The people. Specifically, the people I work with are amazing. All kidding aside, working with good doctors is a wonderful collaboration most of the time—and the team of nurses I work with makes my job doable AND enjoyable.

My patients. Yes, the reason I work is ultimately all about serving my patients. If all of the above stuff disappeared, I would still work hard to serve my patients. Without them I wouldn’t have a job, a vocation, or a profession I am growing to love.

These are only seven of nurse Bozeman’s top ten reasons for loving nursing.  To read the rest and her number one reason, please visit: http://scrubsmag.com/nursing-how-do-i-love-thee/

Gerontology Another Specialty for BSNs to Consider

May 23, 2011 at 1:48 pm

We’ve heard it said many times that one of the major reasons the demand for nurses is increasing is due to the growing aging population. Gerontology is far more than working at a nursing or in assisted living home. RN to BSN students may want to consider this specialty as an option.

Reporter Christina Hennessy of the Connecticut Post sheds some light on the aging members of our society and the needed care that they will require as time progresses. A holistic approach is growing in popularity to aid seniors. “When it comes to serving patients in the next 20 years, that holistic approach — looking at all components of a person’s social, emotional and physical well-being — will increasingly serve an aging population, a shift that has not gone unnoticed by… those who are preparing the next generation of health care providers.”

Hennessy shares some pretty amazing statistics supporting the fact that more medical care is going to be needed to aid the older members of our communities. “By 2030, the number of people in the United States who will be 65 and older is expected to be 72 million, up from 35 million in 2000, according to the government report ‘Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being.’ That surge is being driven by the baby boomers, who represent those born from 1946 to 1964. Boomers begin turning 65 this year.

“For those 85 and older, a century has made all the difference. That population, which numbered just over 100,000 in 1900 grew to 5.7 million by 2008.”

Joan Dacher, an associate professor in the nursing department at the School of Health Sciences at The Sage Colleges, said “gerontology focuses on the science of growing older — the social, financial, psychological, physical aspects — rather than solely concentrating on diseases and conditions that may affect an aging population.”

Hennessey also explains why gerontology is gaining popularity. “Cultural changes and medical innovations have helped to create this shift, said many of those interviewed. They include the 1965 passage of the government health insurance program Medicare, advancements in technology, increased use of pharmaceuticals, greater attention to healthier lifestyles and a greater expectation that their retirement years will be active ones.”

There are many options for which specialty to choose available to those in an RN to BSN program. Talk to friends, professors and those in the field to see which area might be best for you.

How Will Single Payer Health Care Affect RNs?

May 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I admit it: the current health care system is not without its flaws. The paperwork and red tape alone would cause you to buy cases of Airborne to avoid getting sick. But now politicians in California are desperately trying to establish a single payer health care system in the state to match Vermont’s. How is this going to affect patients and RN students?

Californiahealthlin.org writer David Gorn published an article about this issue at the beginning of this month. Gorn discusses the arguments for and against this controversial issue. Should there be a state mandated health care system or should we keep health insurance in the private sector?

I know I haven’t been in school for a while, but last time I checked we weren’t a communist nation. As a former high school history teacher, I am reminded of some of the principles that this nation was founded on: limited government intervention, limited taxation and free industry.

I can’t help but look at a few of the current agencies that the government is currently running: law enforcement, Medicare and education. Each one of these areas is feeling the great bite of budget cuts and the employees are struggling to keep their heads above water. Policemen, government employed nurses, and teachers have an incredible work load and re-enforcements are not being hired because of financial issues. The government has run theses agencies for many decades and can’t seem to get a handle on things; how are they going to take over the health care industry successfully?

Yesterday the Merced Sun Star also reported on this issue. Writer Yesenia Amaro writes that supporter Keith Ensminger said “It would lower the cost of insurance for most people, everybody in the state would have a health insurance plan and it would aid people in having medical conditions treated early rather than waiting.”

For those who are in an RN to BSN program, I believe that this would overload already full hospitals and cost the state even more money, therefore raising taxes. It looks to me like a lot of legislation and not much input from those who are experienced in the health care industry.

To read the complete articles mentioned in this post, please visit
http://www.californiahealthline.org/capitol-desk/2011/5/senate-health-committee-moves-singlepayer-bill.aspx
and
http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/05/18/1895408/health-care-on-state-agenda.html

Nurses Returning to School

May 20, 2011 at 4:04 am

If you’re an RN-BSN student, or a working nurse thinking about going back to school, this post is for you.  The healthcare field is continuously growing and making huge advances.  With stricter patient care policies and ever-higher performance standards, higher education is becoming a greater demand amongst nursing employers.  However, after all things are taken into consideration (work, family, costs) deciding to go to school can be a difficult decision to make.

RN Terri G with Nurse.com understands the challenge of making this decision.  As a working mother, she made the choice to go back to school and now encourages other nurses and aspiring nurses to do the same.

Here’s her story:

I have been thinking about returning to school for several years but have been hampered by my own personal list of reasons as to why it was not feasible.

My excuses included the usual litany. I was too busy. My family needed me. And, of course, school was too expensive. After all, I already was paying tuition for one child. How could I possibly afford a second tuition?

In reality, the lack of time and money were not the true reasons preventing me from going back to school. I was paralyzed by my fear of failure. Would a school accept me? Could I successfully navigate a formal education program? What if I didn’t have what it took to pass the classes?

I finally bit the bullet and am proud to say I am eagerly pursing a doctoral degree in nursing. I enjoy being exposed to the world of higher education and comparing notes with my daughter, who is a college sophomore. But more importantly, I love the intellectual stimulation and being able to expand my knowledge of nursing and healthcare. Finally, given the high cost of a college degree, I am definitely getting my money’s worth.

As our practice becomes more complex, we must accept the role of lifelong learners if we expect to improve patient-care outcomes. So when asked if going back to school is a good investment, my reply is, “I can’t afford not to.”

Having an advanced degree in medicine like Nurse Terri, or a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing), will not only give you an edge during the hiring process but actually help you while you’re working and treating patients.  This is because higher education not only trains nurses to do their jobs but also provides them a depth and breadth of knowledge that proves useful in the workplace.  While working, nurses have to think critically and quickly, so being more knowledgeable definitely gives nurses an advantage in tight situations.

Nurse Terri also provides useful information about on the cost of education and its increasing importance.

To read the entire article, please visit: http://forums.nurse.com/entry.php?1151-Passing-on-School-Truly-a-Failure