Nursing News

Nov. 16, 2018  08:45am ET

Hero Nurses Risk Everything to Provide Medical Care to Locals

          As the wildfires spread in Paradise, California this week many Americans watched helplessly as residents lost their homes and some even their lives.  The cause of the 114,000 acre blaze is under investigation but authorities suspect it was due to an electrical spark.  The Paradise wildfire is the worst  in California's history.  Currently 63 are confirmed dead and a staggering 631 are deemed missing.
          Among the disaster are many stories of heroism and human compassion that have made headlines.  Allyn Pierce, an ICU nurse manager at Adventist Health Feather River Hospital in Paradise, California, was one of those heroes.  Despite making it to safety after a bulldozer removed cars blocking Pierce and other cars from escaping the flames, Pierce drove his truck back through the flames, to return to the hospital to care for the patients and those in need of medical assistance.
          Once back at the hospital, Pierce and his colleagues set up an emergency triage area in the hospital parking lot and nearby helipad throughout the ordeal to provide medical care for locals.
           Like many, Allyn Pierce lost his home and his truck in the Paradise wildfire and a gofundme page has been set up to provide funds to help support Pierce and his family while they begin to rebuild.
(picture of Pierce's melted and damaged truck after driving through flames)

Nov. 7, 2018 09:45am ET

Ballot Question One: Safe Nurse to Patient Ratios, MA Votes 'NO'

The battle for mandatory staffing ratios for nurses may have been lost on November 6th, but according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, it's not over.  Massachusetts voters voted no to legislation requiring hospitals to mandate staffing ratios, leaving many RN's feeling unheard and uneasy about moving forward with their current case load.

Research has shown, based on California's adoption of mandatory staffing ratios, that patient safety, patient mortality, and nursing retention is improved when hospitals are mandated to follow staffing guidelines enforced by legislation.  The opposition argued that mandating assignments may lead to increased ER wait times, increased cost of insurance premiums, and an overall increase cost of 600-900 million/year for the state of Massachusetts.

Many nurses were split on the decision which ultimately left the general population apprehensive of such restrictions on assignments as well.  In the end, the public voted 70.4% against the ballot and 29.6% voted for the ballot.

"We know that right now," Massachusetts Nurses Association president Donna Kelly-Williams said, "there are nurses caring for too many patients, and those patients are unnecessarily being put in harm's way. And the problem continues to grow every year. The status quo is not a solution."

The MNA hopes that even though the ballot did not pass, this opens the door for discussion among hospital administration to address the growing problem of nurse burnout from unsafe patient assignments and the decreased overall patient safety from such assignment loads.

Nov. 5, 2018 11:20am ET

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. E.T.  on Tuesday, 11/6/2018

Click here to determine your registration status and polling location.

Ballot question One on the Massachusetts ballot will determine regulation of nurse patient assignments.  If this ballot passes, MA will be the second U.S. state, next to California, to implement mandatory nurse staffing ratios.  Read my post on Question One: "Pros and Cons" and what it will mean if the ballot passes!  Stay tuned!

Oct 22, 2018 09:49am ET

Nurse takes job with Doctors without Borders after Quarantine

          Back in the fall of 2014 the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa caused the United States to question our methods of prevention of the spread of the Ebola across our borders.  You might remember Kaci Hickox, the public health nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone during the epidemic.  Upon return to the United States, Governor Chris Christie ordered her mandatory quarantine in a make-shift bunker in the parking lot of the New Jersey airport despite Hickox testing negative for Ebola and being free of any signs or symptoms of illness.
          Kaci Hickox continued to make headline news that fall as the Ebola crisis became a nationwide concern.  She refused to maintain a voluntary quarantine of 21 days after returning to her home in Fort Kent, Maine and caused widespread debate over the responsibility of public health workers who return from areas of infectious disease.
          Hickox maintained that under no scientific evidence would her quarantine, based upon public fear, prevent anyone from contracting the disease.  Eventually, a Maine judge permitted Kaci to regain her freedom and lifted any requirement for quarantine if free of signs or symptoms of the deadly disease, Ebola.  She had effectually self-monitored and remained free of signs of infection.
          In 2017, New Jersey settled a lawsuit and put in place new rules to ensure that a person is quarantined only when it's medically necessary and under the advice of medical experts.
          Now, almost four years later, Kaci Hickox has taken a job with the public health organization, Doctors Without Borders as an infection prevention and control advisor.  She will be based out of Amsterdam.
          Do you remember the widespread panic that resulted from the Ebola epidemic in Western Africa back in 2014?  Is your hospital still conducting screening of triage patients coming in for care?
          What are your thoughts on mandatory quarantining of health care workers returning from assignment in areas of infectious disease?  Share your thoughts on my facebook page.

Oct 8, 2018  8:43am E.T.

Idaho Nurse Creates Clothing Program for Patients in Need

A Nurse out of Nampa, Idaho, named Celeste Benedict, created a program called the Patient's Clothes Closet at St. Luke's Nampa Medical Center that provides free clothing for discharged patients in need.

When patient's are discharged from the hospital those that had their garments cut off, soiled, or had problems like, lice, were often sent home in paper scrubs or hospital gowns.  Celeste Benedict saw the need and created a program to fill it.  The way it works is hospital staff donate clothing items and they are prepared for patient use on an as needed, no questions asked basis.

The program has taken off and has gotten full support from the staff, administration, and the community.  Nurses like Celeste Benedict prove that everyday we improve the lives of those we care for, she is an inspiration for others to act when there is a need.  Watch the video for the full story televised by the Boise, ID local news program 7KTVB telecasted on October 7th, 2018.