Kathleen Abrahamson, an associate professor in the Purdue University School of Nursing, was recently awarded a Hulman Health Achievement Award for Excellence in Public Health Science Research. The award is intended to recognize those who conduct impactful, innovative research focusing on disease prevention, health promotion, and population health outcomes.
Dr. Abrahamson’s research focuses on social and organizational factors that impact health services delivery, addressing nursing home quality, patient safety, and nursing work environments. She is currently working with the Indiana Safer Medication Administration Regiments and Treatments (SMART) campaign to improve prescribing culture and practice in Indiana nursing homes. She hopes improving these practices will positively impact the lives and safety of vulnerable nursing home residents.
Jane Kirkpatrick, interim head of the Purdue School of Nursing, tells Purdue.edu, “Kathleen’s insightful and novel approach to understanding and addressing quality in long-term care continues to transform health-care delivery. Dr. Abrahamson’s impactful solutions to pervasive health-care delivery problems, her record of success in teaching and research, and the robust pace of her scholarship at Purdue clearly speak to her knowledge and ability.”
Abrahamson will be presented with her award from the Indiana Public Health Association at the Indiana History Center in Indianapolis on October 19. To learn more about Dr. Abrahamson and her research on patient safety and safe working environments for nurses, visit here.
Talking to patients and their families about death is difficult, even for experienced health care professionals, but it’s an essential skill. The University of Houston (UH) College of Nursing is attempting to address the limited clinical opportunities for nursing students to practice palliative care and end-of-life conversations by using a high-fidelity mannequin to simulate these challenging conversations.
The high-fidelity mannequin is funded by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Nursing Innovation Grant Program. They believe the specialized training is a first-of-its-kind innovation to be used by collegiate nursing programs.
Cheryl Brohard, assistant professor and project director at UH, tells Eurekalert.org, “Nurses will tell you they don’t feel confident or competent with this subject matter. That’s an issue. With this addition to our simulation lab, we’re trying to make the students as comfortable as possible with a challenging but necessary situation.”
The female mannequin is nicknamed “Julia” and programmed to breathe, blink, and simulate medical conditions. A nearby room is equipped with video and audio feed of the simulation lab where a faculty member plays the role of the patient, allowing students to respond and watch their interactions later. Students will be exposed to various scenarios including a patient coming to terms with a recent diagnosis, advanced care planning, and deteriorating health.
To learn more about the University of Houston’s use of a high-fidelity mannequin for practicing palliative care and end-of-life care conversations, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Chenai Mathabire, a 35-year-old Zimbabwean nurse and epidemiologist who received an International AIDS Society prize for showing that a faster tuberculosis test could be implemented in health centers throughout southeast Africa. Her work is expected to help save the lives of HIV-positive patients who contract tuberculosis.
Mathabire is the first nurse in her family, a career which has exposed her to dire health crises in Africa. After applying for a job at Doctors Without Borders, Mathabire helped diagnose malnourished children with HIV, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and malaria in Zimbabwe. She also supervised workers who were teaching HIV-positive pregnant women how to protect their children from the virus.
Mathabire emphases the importance of nursing educators, telling NPR.org, “Nursing is often looked down upon and people just think you are there to be the maid of the doctor or do the dirty work. But teachers made me realize that nurses have a big role to play.”
In 2015, Mathabire was recruited for her first research assignment at Doctors Without Borders, work that eventually won her the International AIDS Society prize according to NPR.org. She knew tuberculosis was the number one killer of HIV-positive patients, but she didn’t know that a rapid tuberculosis test existed until she read the study protocol. For two years, Mathabire and her team explored how health clinics and hospitals could implement the tuberculosis test for HIV patients who are more susceptible to the life-threatening infection. With a rapid tuberculosis test, sick patients could begin treatment the same day, often in less than an hour.
Mathabire still works for Doctors Without Borders and is considering furthering her research on HIV and tuberculosis. To learn more about Mathabire and her dedication to nursing research, visit here.
Veteran nurses are becoming harder and harder to find as the United States faces a looming nursing shortage, but the state of Kentucky is experimenting with new ways to incentivize registered nurses to work in their hospitals. Many hospitals report that newly graduated nurses are important but that experienced nurses are also essential, especially in critical care settings.
Fewer nurses means larger patient loads which increases the likelihood for mistakes and health complications. A nursing shortage combined with an aging general population presents a large problem for healthcare employers which is why Kentucky hospitals have begun offering cash bonuses and other incentives to help fill nursing jobs and counter a nursing shortage that is expected to grow worse in the near future.
Mark Vogt, CEO of Galen College of Nursing, tells www.Courier-Journal.com, “For a long time we’ve been talking about a nursing shortage that’s coming to our country. I believe that we are on the front end of that nursing shortage, not only in our community but in other parts of the country.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, national job openings for registered nurses are expected to increase by 16 percent through 2024, and in Kentucky, more than 16,000 new openings for registered nurses are expected by 2024.
One Kentucky hospital is offering nurses a $6,000 sign-on bonus in exchange for a two-year work commitment or up to $24,000 worth of student loans paid off after committing to work for four years. Many nurses are also offered cash bonuses for referring nurses with experience.
Hospitals in Kentucky are seeing their incentives being paid off with one hospital reporting the hiring of 61 new nurses in the last 60 days. The University of Louisville hospital hired a record 100 nurses in 60 days according to John Elliott, the chief human resources officer.
To learn more about the state of Kentucky’s use of incentives to recruit and retain registered nurses, visit here.
Samantha Calvin, Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Assistant Professor, recently spoke at the 14th Annual Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference held in Ohio. Calvin also teaches an innovate new course at ASU called “Fundamentals of Human Trafficking” which is one of the only courses on human trafficking available in a nursing school.
The conference is intended to bring together researchers, service providers, politicians, advocates, and students from across the globe to learn from each together and work toward finding real-world solutions to this problem. Calvin’s presentation focused on human trafficking in the clinic setting, red flags to look for, questions to ask, and what to do if someone is identified.
“What we’re finding is that health professionals do not feel comfortable identifying and treating someone who has been human trafficked.”
Calvin tells ASUNow.edu, “What we’re finding is that health professionals do not feel comfortable identifying and treating someone who has been human trafficked.” Her research is focused on female adolescent sex trafficking which she uses as course content for the human trafficking course she teaches in the nursing school.
Many schools of social work offer courses on human trafficking, but Calvin is advocating for the importance of knowing how to identify and treat human trafficking patients in a clinical setting. Calvin tells ASUNow.edu, “Even though a lot of these victims seek medical care they are not being identified and end up remaining in the cycle of human trafficking.”
Calvin hopes that sharing her research with other nursing schools across the country will help show the importance of her course at ASU and encourage other schools to add similar courses to their nursing curriculums.
To learn more about Calvin’s research and nursing course on human trafficking, visit here.
The Georgia Southern University (GSU) School of Nursing recently received a $1.6 million grant to help better prepare students to work in the psychiatric/mental health care field through the new Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program.
The BHWET Program supports students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty track of the BSN-DNP program, and aims to develop and expand the behavioral health workforce, increasing the number of providers prepared to deliver team-based psychiatric and mental health services to rural and medically underserved populations in South Georgia.
Melissa Garno, EdD, RN, professor, BSN program director, PMHNP project director, and the BHWET grant principal investigator, tells News.GeorgiaSouthern.edu, “Primary care providers continue to be the most common portal of entry into our healthcare system. Area mental health providers are few, and mental health needs currently overwhelm area primary care settings, emergency rooms and communities. This program will provide support over the next four years for the education of psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner students in settings practicing an integrated model of mental health and primary care using a team approach.”
The program will help provide stipends for BSN-DNP students choosing the PMHNP specialty track which places them in facilities based on providing interprofessional and team-based care, including primary care services. Clinical placements through qualified agencies also helps assist in closing the gap in access to mental health services across the state.
To learn more about GSU’s grant for behavioral health workforce education, visit here.