Penn study examines link between nurse burnout, care

(Philadelphia Inquirer)For years, as hospitals cut costs to survive ever-increasing financial pressures, nurses argued that inadequate staffing harms patients.

California’s controversial and, so far, unique response was to mandate minimum nurse-to-patient ratios, which, if applied locally, would prevent 222 surgical deaths annually in New Jersey and 264 in Pennsylvania, researchers here calculated in 2010.

Now members of that same University of Pennsylvania team say they have figured out a key reason for that. Though it might seem clear-cut – fewer caregivers provide poorer care – they maintain the issue is not simply numbers but a bad work environment. [Read more...]

Jim Hillibish: Nurses know when you need them

(Enterprise News) Do you believe in angels?

I was talking to my dialysis nurse this week and suddenly realized I’d never met a nurse I didn’t love. If you’ve been privileged to interact with nurses, I bet you feel the same.

I thought maybe it’s those pajama-scrubs they wear. No. The deal is, these people really care about their jobs, and that means us.

My sister was an Aultman nurse for 40 years. She’d come home with blood on her whites. That upset my dad big time, but I thought it was too cool. She evolved into a great nurse. Her patients often became her friends. Years later, she’d meet them in the mall, hugs and all. [Read more...]

Burned-out nurses linked to more infections in patients

(NBC) Heavy patient loads and chronic burnout have long been among the top complaints of nurses at the nation’s hospital bedsides. But a new study shows that those problems affect not only the nurses themselves, but also the number of infections in the people they care for.

For every extra patient added to a nurse’s workload, there was roughly one additional hospital-acquired infection logged per 1,000 patients, according to researchers from the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. [Read more...]

Thousands of nurses cut from the NHS: official figures

(The UK Telegraph) The figures show that there were 349,219 nurses, midwives and health visitors in April 2012 despite government pledges that front line services would not be hit.

The figures were released as a study by Southampton University found that nursing numbers has a direct effect on the quality of patient care and can put patients at risk.

A survey of 3,000 nurses in 31 NHS trusts carried out by Southampton University and King’s College London found that vital tasks were left undone on wards with fewer nurses, putting patients at risk, the authors said. [Read more...]

North Adelaide nurse makes mercy trip to Africa helping on a floating hospital

(Adelaide Now) Nurse Lisa Warkentin, 37, from North Adelaide found herself on board the Africa Mercy within three weeks of the appeal, and spent the next two months serving on the mercy ship anchored off the West African nation of Togo.

“It was good to be able to help people and see their lives really change,” she said.

“Just being able to do something small is a huge event, people are so grateful that you are there.

“Just to see lives changed so they can go on, to live and grow old.” [Read more...]

Logan nurse enjoys helping struggling babies in neonatal unit

(HJnews.com) On her days off work, it’s not unusual for a stranger to stop Elizabeth Anderson in the grocery store with an exclamation of, “You helped me deliver my baby!”

Anderson, who goes by Liz while working as aregistered nurse in the neonatal care unit at Logan Regional Hospital, admits she doesn’t remember each mother and baby she’s helped over the years, but she’s pleasantly surprised when one remembers her. [Read more...]

Health care companies send nursing jobs overseas

(Charlotte Observer) After years of shipping data-processing, accounting and other back-office work abroad, some health care companies are starting to shift clinical services and decision-making on medical care overseas, primarily to India and the Philippines.

Some of the jobs being sent abroad include so-called pre-service nursing, where nurses at insurance companies, for example, help assess patient needs and determine treatment methods.

Outsourcing such tasks goes beyond earlier steps by health care companies to farm out reading of X-rays and other diagnostic tests to health professionals overseas. Those previous efforts were often done out of necessity, to meet overnight demands, for instance. [Read more...]

Students get close to the real deal at Nurse Camp

(The Auburn Reporter) The drama unfolds at a high school baseball game. A fan falls 20 feet from the stands reaching for a fly ball.

A group of 10 students in blue scrubs are responsible for aiding the patient until the ambulance arrives.

“Ready, one, two, three,” says Emma Kroll, a Kentwood High School student, guiding the patient’s head while the group rolls him onto his back and prepares to examine him for cuts and broken bones. [Read more...]

Nurses Promote Healthier Energy Choices

(PSNA.org) The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) submitted a health care and public policy proposal, Nurses Role in Recognizing, Educating and Advocating for Healthier Energy Choices,that was passed by the American Nurses Association (ANA) House of Delegates on June 15, 2012. This proposal focuses on nurses using evidence-based information to educate other health professionals, the public and policy makers about the relationship between energy choices and human health. The next steps for the ANA will include developing strategies for implementing the recommendations detailed in PSNA’s proposal.  [Read more...]

Dismantling Nursing’s Catch-22

(Nurse.com) Victoria L. Rich, RN, PhD, FAAN, chief nurse executive at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center and an associate professor at the school of nursing there, recalls working at a hospital in the 1980s where a nurse who made three medication errors in one year automatically was fired. In such a fearful environment, few nurses wanted to report errors, Rich said, referring to those days as “the dark ages.”

In the past 15 years, as a preponderance of evidence shows the harm to patients from medical errors and the need to shed light on how and why such errors occur, more hospitals are trying to shift from punishing individuals for honest mistakes to using error reports as evidence to change systems, making it harder for clinicians to make errors and easier to catch mistakes before they cause harm. But the process of creating trust and a true culture of safety is not easy, said Ronda Hughes, RN, PhD, MHS, FAAN, associate professor at Marquette University College of Nursing in Milwaukee, Wis. It requires long-term hospitalwide commitment, strong leadership and a lot of time. [Read more...]