Moving Time for Nurses Who Don’t Need Doctors

(Texas Tribune) As an advanced practice nurse specializing in family medicine, Holly Jeffreys operates the only medical clinics in two rural Texas Panhandle counties. The state requires that she have a contract with a physician to supervise both clinics, but she operates the facilities almost independently. [Read more…]

Aerocare Helicopter Makes Hard Landing in Big Lake, Texas, Nurse Injured

New information has been released in the Aerocare helicopter landing that happened in Big Lake.

We’ve learned a nurse on board the helicopter was injured.

DPS officials say just before noon Saturday, the medical aircraft carrying a pilot and two nurses was taking a patient from Fort Stockton to San Angelo.

On the way, the helicopter had mechanical problems, forcing the pilot to make a hard landing at the Big Lake Regional Airport. [Read more…]

Texas nurse follows her dream despite hearing impairment

( Alyssa Myers always knew she wanted to be a nurse.

She likes people, science and helping others. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in biology, applying for nursing school made sense.

But instead of admission, the only answer Myers received was no.

It was 1987, and administrators at East Coast nursing schools told her she was unfit to be a nurse.

Myers was born deaf. [Read more…]

Nursing the demand – Texas ranks highly in nurse preparation

( Taylor County ranks seventh in the ratio of registered nurses to its population, a fortunate circumstance that several health experts said was good news.

That favorable ranking doesn’t mean that the work in training nurses for the future is anywhere near over, said Jo Rake, vice president of nursing at Hendrick Health System.

There will be a huge void created, for example, when nurses who are baby boomers begin retiring, she said.

But it does, in Rake’s opinion, show that the area is doing a good job in offering sufficient educational options for those who want to become nurses.

“Many of the places that have lower numbers or better ratios are places where they have schools of nursing,” she said, after examining the state’s data. “We have expanded our educational facilities here in Abilene for nursing, and I think we are beginning to see some of the payoff for that.”

The number of registered nurses working in Taylor County has seen steady growth since state record-keeping began in the late 1970s.

In 1978, the first year for which figures are available, the county’s population of 108,313 had to make do with 293 registered nurses, a ratio of one nurse for every 370 people.

In 1989, the number had grown to 646 RNs, improving the ratio to one registered nurse per every 186 people, with a countywide population of 120,305.

By 2001, with a population that had grown to 125,066, numbers had improved to 1,204 RNs in Taylor County, a ratio of one nurse for every 104 people.

Ten years after that, in 2011, the last year for which statistics are available, Taylor County’s population of 131,663 was served by 1,528 nurses, improving the ratio to one nurse for every 86 people.

Statistics on the ratio of population to the number of RNs are updated yearly and come from the Texas Board of Nurses, said Chris Van Duesen, assistant press officer with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

The Institute of Medicine and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have set goals of 80 percent of the nation’s nurses earning bachelor’s degrees by 2020.

Currently, the national average of bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses is 50 percent, according to a recent statement from Texas Tech University and Cisco College. Texas is below that average at 37 percent.

The need for more registered nurses is expected to be driven by a number of factors, said Pearl Merritt, regional dean for Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Nursing in Abilene.

“According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, the number of people age 65 or older will number 70 million by 2030,” she said, a prime force driving such need.

Projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that more than 581,000 new RN positions will be needed, due to the retirement of nurses and an increase in the number of health care jobs available, she said.

“So it is imperative that nursing schools continue to grow to meet the demand,” Merritt said.

Options Available

Taylor County has a number of current and upcoming options for nursing education including: a recent partnership with Cisco College and Texas Tech University to help licensed vocational nurses attain associate degrees; the venerable Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, a consortium agreement among Abilene’s three Christian universities that offers a variety of degrees; and a new, upcoming stand-alone nursing program at Abilene Christian University.

Tech is building — with the help of Hendrick Health System — a large facility for its nursing programs next to its School of Pharmacy.

Annette Smith, dean of instruction at Cisco, said that the number of nursing school options in the area makes Abilene an education and health care hub for the Big Country.

“It’s all about choices,” she said. “Typically, our nursing students graduate planning to continue their education while working, and Abilene offers them many different options.”

Rake said that Hendrick, which employs between 650 and 675 RNs throughout its system, has benefited greatly by having local educational options available from which to draw workers.

In an email, Jessica Kiehle, chief nursing officer at Abilene Regional Medical Center, and John Jeziorske, the hospital’s human resources director, said that it is not often that ARMC needs to go outside of the local area to fill vacant RN positions.

“In rare cases, there is a need for nurses with specialized skills that we cannot find locally,” the email said.

On average, the hospital has 250 RNs on staff at any given time, the pair said, a number that excludes medical assistants, nursing assistants, and licensed vocational nurses.

Alesha Bolton, 28, a registered nurse with Hendrick Health System, said that she felt there was “room for more” RNs in Abilene and in the Big Country.

“Right now, there are so many opportunities regarding education,” she said. “Unfortunately, there is still a huge nursing shortage. So, no matter how many programs and university [opportunities] there are, we’re just not putting [RNs] out fast enough.”

But for those suited to its long hours and hard work, she said, the career is “honestly one of the most rewarding fields out there.”

Bolton, who graduated from the Patty Hanks Shelton School of Nursing, found her calling when she changed her major from education to nursing and “never looked back.”

“Every day, you know you made a difference,” she said.

Such a difference could be as big as saving someone’s life, she said, or as simple as taking the time to listen to patients talk about how they feel, whether about their diagnosis or life in general.

Those interested in a career as an RN should prepare themselves for strenuous coursework, she said, adding that students should also shop around for universities or programs that fit with their own personal ethos.

“You have to stay motivated and positive and not be afraid to ask for advice from instructors and peers,” she said. “Perseverance is key, as is faith.”

And they need to ask themselves realistically if this is a career that they really want to pursue, she said.

“It’s about taking care of people at their best of times, and their worst of times, too,” she said. “That’s the honor and privilege we get to deal with on a daily basis.”

Practice makes perfect: Nurses to-be study in simulation lab

( SAN ANTONIO — A new multi-million dollar simulation lab in San Antonio is training the next generation of nurses.

Nursing is a challenging, fast-paced, important and in-demand career. But future RNs and LVNs don’t train first on actual patients.

Students train in labs like the new $3.5 million simulation lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing. [Read more…]

Joining the ranks of nurses

(OA online) Stone is the chief nursing officer at Odessa Regional Medical Center.

In 1993, I was a bright-eyed 17-year pup in the midst of my senior year at Permian High School. A little rebellious, but prone to always do the right thing, I engaged the notion my career path would lead straight to the military out of high school. Opting to pursue the Navy’s Delayed Enlistment Program, my future was set in motion…but not as I would come to expect it. Prior to high school graduation in May of 1994, I had scored well on my Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) but failed the last component of my medical screening physical. Apparently the Navy did not take healthy 18-year-olds with inguinal hernias. I was informed my hernia would need to be surgically repaired before being allowed to serve in the military. Little did I know, at the time, this would set my career path for years to come. [Read more…]

Nurse impersonator arrested for stealing from hospitals

( HOUSTON – Harris County deputies say a woman’s act was so convincing she fooled doctors and nurses into thinking she was one of them.

Robin Carmouche, 22, was arrested on charges she snuck into area hospitals and stole credit cards.

“She was going into hospitals and clinics, wearing scrubs, posing as a nurse and shopping for purses and billfolds,” said Lt. Jeff Stauber. “It’s thousands of dollars and dozens of cases.” [Read more…]