Category Archives: In the News

Headlines for professionals in the nursing and healthcare field.

Hospitals Get Creative in Recruiting Nurses

White Plains hospital in New York has started a program where once per week for the past year, as many as 20 students at White Plains High School spend their lunch hour with a nurse or some other guest speaker from the hospital to learn about nursing careers. The hospital started the program as a way to make a strong, early contact with students considering a career in nursing. White Plains Hospital hopes to nurture students, provide internship opportunities, ease the path to nursing school and to be first in line as an employer when the students are ready to work.

As the nursing shortage worsens, hospitals throughout the Lower Hudson Valley are finding new ways to ensure that they have the staff they need to care for their patients and keep their programs running. While White Plains Hospital looks to identify future nurses in its own community, some hospitals reach across the world for qualified workers. Online nursing schools and hospital organizations in the Lower Hudson Valley are hoping to increase the number of local nursing graduates so it is no longer necessary to search the world for qualified candidates.

Careers in nursing are also becoming more popular for older students seeking a second career. The desire to help others is a factor that prompts many people to seek a second career as a nurse. The relatively high salaries they can earn are another. Hospitals in the Lower Hudson Valley generally pay starting salaries in the $50,000 for registered nurses. Nurses with 10 or more years of experience and those with a RN to BSN can make more than $80,000.

Hospitals have even started to work out a plan that that involves them sending master degree-level nurses to serve as instructors at surrounding Nursing schools. In return, the hospitals earn tuition credits, which can be used by its employee’s. The program benefits both the schools and the hospitals, said Dawn Rougeux, director of emergency preparedness and work force development for the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association.

Florida’s First Program to train Emergency Nurse Practitioners

Big news for Jacksonville University and the school’s nursing program! It has recently been reported that JU will launch Florida’s first program to train Emergency Nurse Practitioners. The two-year Masters in nursing program, which will be offered in the fall of 2007, will be limited to 20 students each year. Graduates of the program will be certified as Family Nurse Practitioners, with an Emergency Nurse Practitioner specialization, said Leigh Hart, dean of JU’s School of Nursing. Hart also noted that the Jacksonville University Nursing program would help increase the number of health care providers in ERs and urgent care centers that are experiencing a spike in patient volumes.

According to an Institute of Medicine report, there’s been a 26 percent increase in emergency room volume over the previous decade. But at the same time the country experienced a net loss of 703 hospitals and 425 emergency rooms during the same period. This program will be extremely helpful to area hospitals and emergency room patients that have been experiencing significant daily patient volumes the past year.

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed advanced education and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses. A nurse practitioner can diagnose medical conditions and write prescriptions.

Nursing Education Summit Nurtures Diversity in Learning

There are plenty of positive things coming up in terms of future improvements for those individuals interested in getting a nursing degree. The National League for Nursing hosts an Education Summit where various, influential people and educators in the nursing field gather to learn how to better “nurture diversity” in all areas, including the classroom as well as in the educational facility’s curriculum. The Nursing Education Summit is one where educators are encouraged to support diversity, and to learn from one another innovative techniques for improving the classroom environment.

Attendees of the Education Summit include a broad range of nursing education specialists from some five hundred nursing schools across the nation, as well as Mexico and Japan. The summit includes seminars, workshops, and discussion panels, all of which are related to issues faced by today’s nursing educators as well as those individuals in pursuit of a nursing degree.  Heavily discussed an examined topics in the Summit include nursing school leadership, the latest advances in technology, issues related to research, and the subject of student mentoring.

Current methods and policies at nursing schools were challenged at the Summit and nursing education specialists across the board were encouraged to reconsider current policies so that diversity could be properly nurtured.  In a discussion moderated by Sr. Rosemary Donley, SC, PhD, C-NAP, RN, FAAN, nursing educators examined the serious need to expand diversity in an effort to meet the educational and learning needs of every student.

The summit also embraced discussions pertaining to excellence in the field of nursing and in nursing education.  The finale of the Summit included the NLN Awards and Academy of Nursing Education Fellows Induction Ceremony.  During the ceremony three individuals were honored: Colleen Conway-Welch PhD, RN, CNM, FAAN, FACNM, was honored with the Oustanding Leadership in Nursing Education Award; Kathryn M. Mershon, MSN, RN, CNAA, FAAN, was awarded the Outstanding Leadership to the NLN to NLN Foundation; and May Wykle, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA, received the NLN Isabel Hampton Robb Award for Lifetime Achievement.  Along with the latter honors, a total of 24 new individuals were inducted in the Academy of Nursing Education.

Nursing Gala Raises $250,000 for Mississippi Nursing Shortage

Like many other states across the country Mississippi is experiencing a nursing shortage. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Mississippi health care providers will experience a 22 percent vacancy rate in nursing positions by the year 2020, requiring more than 18,000 nurses to provide adequate patient care. The Mississippi nursing shortage was made even worse after Hurricane Katrina battered the south leaving a huge dent in the area’s healthcare system.

However, despite such drawbacks efforts are being made to reduce the nursing gap in local communities everywhere. One such recent effort was a fund-raising gala hosted by Johnson & Johnson. The Promise of Nursing for Mississippi gala is part of a public-awareness campaign — The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future — launched by Johnson & Johnson in February 2002. The multi-year, $30 million campaign is designed to enhance the image of the nursing profession, recruit new nurses and nurse educators, as well as to help retain nurses currently in the profession. Working in cooperation with various professional nursing organizations, schools, hospitals and other health care groups and providers, the Campaign focuses on promoting opportunities within nursing (RN to BSN) as well as increasing awareness of the value of the nursing profession to our overall society and health care community. Over the last four years these galas have generated more than $12 million dollars in much needed funds.

With 100 percent of the proceeds going toward Mississippi nursing school grants, faculty fellowships and student scholarships, these types of events demonstrate that working together hospitals, schools, Government, and corporations can make significant strides in shoring up this national crisis.

Make-a-Wish Foundation

Since 1980, the Foundation has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions. The Foundation aims to reflect the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

Since its humble beginning in granting a little boy’s wish who dreams of becoming a police officer, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has grown into an organization that grants a wish of a child every 40 minutes. The organization has blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon, reaching more than 174,000 children around the world. A network of nearly 25,000 volunteers enables the Make-A-Wish Foundation to serve children with life-threatening medical conditions. Volunteers serve as wish granters, fundraisers, special events assistants and numerous other capacities.

The Foundation offers a volunteer position for every time and talent. Volunteers have a wide variety of options to get involved that match their interests and skills. Volunteer opportunities and availability vary by local chapter. All volunteers are required to complete the volunteer screening process. They must also undergo background check.

Nurses and healthcare workers volunteer their time and talent to help grant a sick child’s wish and turn it to reality. Many trained nurses that have earned their certification through an online nursing degree or through campus education look forward to this type of opportunity outside of their regular working hours.

Volunteer nurses, along with doctors, parents and other healthcare workers, refer eligible patients between 2 1/2 and 18 who have not received a wish from another wish-granting organization. They gather information on the child’s one true wish. Driven by the child’s creativity, they then create an unforgettable experience to enrich the lives of the children and their families, but more often an entire community.

Nurses and doctors as well as other healthcare workers see a lot of benefits in volunteering at Make-A-Wish Foundation. They learn and develop certain skills while teaching others the skills they know. Volunteers also gain work experience; thus, enhancing their resume. Volunteering also creates important network contacts as one meets new people and talk to them about their ambitions, enthusiasm, and care for the community.

One of the nursing organizations who volunteer for the foundation is the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA). ONA is a professional organization for all registered nurses in Oklahoma that promotes nursing profession. They help the children with critical medical conditions make their wishes come true. They volunteer, sponsor a wish, and organize special events for the children.

Volunteering also develops the self-confidence and self-esteem of both the patient and the healthcare worker. This helps improve the health situation of the patient. More importantly, volunteers make a big difference in the life of the patients, their families and the community.

Forensic Nursing Available to All Patients

Forensic nurses are trained to assess and treat victims of sexual assault and other crimes as well as collect and document evidence. State legislators are considering a bill that would require hospitals to offer forensic nurses who care for crime victims. House Bill 1013 would require all of Connecticut’s 31 acute-care hospitals to make forensic nurses available to patients. The bill moved out of the public health committee last week and awaits approval from the rest of the General Assembly.

Hospitals are not required to have forensic nurses on staff, and only a few offer the service. Besides examining sexual assault victims, nurses with forensic nursing courses specialize in domestic violence, child and elder abuse and emergency trauma. Under the bill, hospitals would not be required to staff forensic nurses, but would have to ensure they could provide one in an emergency. Forensic nursing gained momentum in the early 1990s, when Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner programs began springing up nationwide. The American Nursing Association (ANA) recognized it as a specialty in 1995. About 100 nurses in the state have anadvanced degree in forensic nursing, said Lynne Price, an associate professor in the graduate nursing program at Quinnipiac University in Hamden and a member of the Connecticut chapter of the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

A number of hospitals in the state have nurses certified as Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, a type of forensic nurse. It often is seen as an entry point into forensic nursing, health officials said. To become a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, nurses must enroll in a 40-hour program that trains them to conduct delicate pelvic exams.

Community Supports Nursing Program

All across the country hospitals, educational institutions, local government, and various civic groups are recognizing that collectively working towards solutions to our nation’s heath-care crisis is a fundamental step in the right direction. A national nursing shortage is plaguing hospitals, nursing home facilities, and other heath centers causing current staff to be overworked and many open staffing positions being left un-filled. The bottom line: communities are getting worried.

In Ashtabula, Ohio the community is taking postive steps and backing efforts to ensure that a properly trained nursing staff, from its local nursing college, will be readily available to fill its healthcare facilities and shore up its needs. If you have spent any time in a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home, rehabilitation center or have received any kind of physical therapy in Ashtabula County, chances are a Kent State University Ashtabula graduate has helped you. Graduates of the Kent State Ashtabula Associate Degree in nursing program compose about 75 percent of the Registered Nurses working in the county. Since the community depends so heavily on Kent State graduates, it has become increasingly more important for the community to continue to insure that these nurses and assistants are educated properly.

This means that the new Health and Science building on the Kent State Ashtabula Campus is not only important to the health of the campus, but to the region’s health as well. It’s so important that administrators of local health care facilities chose to contribute $250,000 to its construction. University Hospitals Geneva and Conneaut Medical Centers also pledged $250,000 to the Next Step Campaign. The community is depending on the new state-of-the-art building to provide a high quality, local option for students to pursue RN to BSN programs that will help jump-start their careers and hopefully keep them in Ashtabula County.

Whether or not local nursing graduates stay in Ashtabula is yet to be determined however one thing is for sure; the ongoing national nursing shortage will provide many opportunities for these graduates. Compensation for both nurses and physical therapist assistants continues to rise, as does signing bonuses offered by many facilities that hire RN to MSN professionals.

Online Nursing Degree Receives Support from the ANA

The growing shortage of nurses poses a real threat to the nation’s health care system and the public’s health, however the American Nurses Association (ANA) is trying to change the course. Dedicated to fighting for a workplace environment that will encourage current nurses to continue in their careers, and inspire young men and women to consider earning theirRN to BSN degree, the ANA has announced the theme of National Nurses Week 2007, “Nursing: A Profession and a Passion.” This special week honoring nurses is celebrated annually from May 6, also known as National Nurses Day, through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

The national nursing shortage crisis is a hot topic item that is on the plate of the ANA. They are continuously supporting initiatives to shore up the shortage by encouraging more men and women to choose a career in nursing. However due to a lack of nurse educators and the physical constraints of traditional classroom settings more and more students nurses are turning to the Internet and a nursing degree online. These are the kinds of creative solutions the ANA is supporting and getting behind.

National Nurses Week focuses on highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses are pursuing educational opportunities and also finding ways to improve health care. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to the halls of research institutions, state legislatures, and Congress, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting the expanding health care needs of American society.

Obama Speech to American Nursing Association on Health Care

During his campaign for office, President Obama made a strong speech to the American Nurses Association pushing for changes in United States health care infrastructure.

Obama
Obama discusses his health care plan with key stakeholders

In June of 2008, Senator Barack Obama included the American Nurses Association as one of the major stops on his campaign trail. At the time, not the decided candidate for Democratic President nominee, Obama spoke with Rebecca Patton, the president of the American Nurses Association.

During this speech to the ANA, Obama addressed his health care experience, thanking the Illinois branch of the American Nurses Association for their work together during his time as a senator. As Chair of the health care committee, one of Obama’s biggest roles was working to create an affordable health care plan for his constituents, a goal he still has today and has been working towards with his health care reforms.

During his time as the Chair of the health care committee, Obama shadowed a nurse during her daily rounds and got a personal look at America’s health care. With 47 million Americans lacking health care insurance, as a result of lobbyists and drug companies pushing their own agendas over the needs of United States citizens. Healthcare is very important for everyone to have, as your health should be your top priority. But in some countries, healthcare is not free, so many people struggle to pay for this. With this being said, as there are ways that people can go about getting the money they need to pay their bills, this shouldn’t be something that you should stress about. From taking out small credits, (or smålån as they’d say in Norway), to finding ways of raising money to support their medical bills, you can finally get your financial life back on track when it comes to your health.

The Senator criticized current health care plans and proposed alterations, stating that McCain’s plan was basically the same as the plan in effective during the Bush administration. These health care plans do little to help the average American, rewarding wealth and affluence with health, while those without the means to buy a health care plan go without care.

Obama then described then-Senator Clinton and his plan – the Democratic view of health care. Both politicians hoped to create a plan that extended service to all that need it, not just to those that can afford it. The Senator referred to his proposal as a “health care plan,” not a “disease care plan.” One of the main aspects of this plan, that would allow Obama to increase insurance coverage would be assisting employers responsible for providing insurance by reducing premiums. This would help relieve the strain on nursing by putting a plan into effect that doesn’t increase workload untowardly.

Further than preventative health care services, Obama stated plans to pay nurses accordingly. By paying nursing professors better, the Senator believes that more nurses will pursue nursing careers and participate in specialized online nursing programs. In addition, Obama hopes to offset the costs of tuition and education by $4,000, preventing nurses in need from going into debt, and by providing full ride scholarships to nurses working in underserved hospitals.

Obama addressed the nursing shortage, praising the hard-working nurses who do more than their fair share in order to support their patients. However, he derided the industry for creating an inefficient work environment, incapable of providing adequate care to patients. In order to fix the problem, Obama hopes to monitor nurse-patient ratios by implementing health information technology that not only protects and provides for patients, but that streamlines the administrative process. He also proposed instituting a limit on overtime.

These changes in the nursing profession would make great strides towards increased retention and recruitment to the health care industry by improving work environments, increasing the job satisfaction of nurses already working, and drawing new nurses into the field.

Importing Nurses – Is It Wise?

Is recruiting foreign labor a wise solution to help curb the national nursing shortage crisis or just another move by the employing health care industry to import cheap labor? According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, a 21 percent increase in the need for nurses is projected nationwide from 1998 to 2008 and it could lead to a shortage of more than one million nurses by the end of this decade. This has created tremendous opportunities for healthcare staffing agencies, which recruit hundreds of nurses from India each year earning millions in revenue.

I know this much – the domestic workforce doesn’t seem to share the same excitement about the profession as staffing agencies. Nurses’ unions disagree with the premise that nurses from abroad will help solve the problem. Nursing organizations are voicing a deep concern that foreign nurses are not being incorporated into the unions upon entering the workforce. And this means hospitals and the like can hire foreign workers far cheaper than domestic nurses plus they don’t complain about working conditions, because it’s better than their home country. The result is a national deterioration of the nursing wage, which affects all nurses. “There is no shortage of nurses in Massachusetts,” says David Schildmeier, spokesperson for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “There is a shortage of nurses willing to work in hospitals under current conditions, assigned to too many patients, that is why people are leaving.”

Another main cause to the nursing shortage is the number of qualified nurse educators available to teach future nurses continues to decline. This year nursing schools were forced to reject more than 147,000 qualified applications. Many point to the salary discrepancy that still exists in not being able to attract new nurse educators (RN to MSN), however that is beginning to change.

With 44 million baby boomers approaching retirement, nurse educator salary discrepancies, and a dwindling nursing workforce it seems that international recruiting is here to stay – at least for a while.