Home-Based Primary Care Provider Reduces Vets’ Excess Meds

Home-Based Primary Care Provider Reduces Vets’ Excess Meds

Every morning starts the same way for Veteran Kenneth Tutt, age 79. At 8:00am he makes a phone call to Nurse Practitioner Rhonda Weinhold. Weinhold is a VA Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) provider. She has been working with Tutt for four years. Together they review his weight, blood pressure and sugar levels. “There is no doubt in my mind I would not be here if it was not for this program,” said Tutt.

Home-Based Primary Care is a VA program bringing primary health care into Veterans’ homes. HBPC provides integrated, patient-centered care for Veterans with complex medical needs. Veterans in the program are assigned a primary care provider like Ms. Weinhold, based at the Staunton, Va., community-based outpatient clinic. “The families, the caregivers in the home, they really depend on us,” she says. “A lot of our patients consider us part of the family.”

“So Many Medications!”

Recently, Weinhold began something new for Tutt and several other patients that has helped to reduce their medications and resulted in higher satisfaction with their quality of life. Not long ago, she attended a VA Geriatric Scholars Program class, which inspired her to develop a medication management program to review patient medication prescriptions. The idea came in part from a HBPC routine: setting up monthly medication boxes. “We love doing it, but we noticed our patients were on so many medications. We just thought, are there medications we could potentially get rid of that actually might be doing more harm or that are not needed?”

She teamed up with HBPC team member Jena Willis, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), to develop the idea. The review, it turns out, often results in a reduction of medications. Weinhold says it is good because, “Research shows the more medication patients are on, especially for the elderly population, the greater the risk for falls.” In fact, Tutt admits to having fallen at home a few times in the past. They consolidate the medication de-escalation recommendations, adding them to each patient’s electronic health record. Tutt, like most HBPC patients, takes a lot of medications for a variety of health conditions.

Weinhold asked veterans, “How do you feel about trying to get off some medicine?” Tutt thought, “It was a terrific idea.” The project has helped Tutt feel he’s got a better chance of being the person he’s always been. “I’ve been an outdoor person all my life,” said Tutt, who served in the Navy from 1958 to 1970. “I garden, I raise flowers. I’ve had to cut back, but I’m still mobile.”

HBPC: Keeping Patients Safe in their Homes

“Our goal with Home-Based Primary Care is patient safety,” said Weinhold. “We’re there to keep them safe in the home and to keep them in the home as long as possible.” As they fine-tuned their process, Weinhold brought others onboard. It was a team effort. Three registered nurses met in person with 80 patients over six months. “We were able to reduce the number of medications an average two medicines per patient,” said Weinhold.

After their success in Staunton, they were able to coordinate with Salem VA Medical Center (VAMC) pharmacy residents’ grand rounds presentation on the de-escalation of therapy for the medical department there. The Salem VAMC is Staunton’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic’s parent facility. The residents added the information to their presentation as an introduction to the rest of the medical facility. “The most rewarding thing is providing improved quality of life for our patients, whether it’s three more days, three more years, or 30 more years,” said Willis.

Maureen Jerrett is a contract writer for VA Geriatric Scholars Program

Penn State Donors Establish $10 Million Nursing Scholarship

Penn State Donors Establish $10 Million Nursing Scholarship

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — An anonymous Penn State donor couple has made a gift of $5 million to endow a scholarship for students with financial need in the College of Nursing. This is the largest single gift the college has received in its six-year history. In addition, the University is matching the gift 1:1, bringing the scholarship endowment total to $10 million. Students from western Pennsylvania and rural regions of the commonwealth will be given first preference for the awards.

“The College of Nursing’s potential for impact on the health of communities across the commonwealth is vast, and these donors have recognized that potential through this remarkable gift,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “Their support will help to address the commonwealth’s pressing need for health care professionals and allow recipients to forge meaningful careers in nursing, transforming their own lives. We’re very grateful for this generous gift.”

College of Nursing undergraduates who must meet the cost of a Penn State degree with loans graduate, on average, with an educational debt of more than $42,500. Recipients of the scholarship, however, will receive annual awards of up to $10,000. This will significantly reduce their debt and allow them more latitude to choose jobs in high-need but lower-paid geographic areas and medical fields that present the most urgent need for nurses.

“The extraordinary couple who made this gift have been impressed by the excellence of Penn State’s nursing programs,” said Laurie Badzek, dean and professor of the College of Nursing. “In particular, they appreciate our work to prepare a generation of nurses with a solid grounding in geriatrics and community health.”

“Nursing is a discipline that touches everyone’s life at some point, and these generous donors are helping to ensure better care across the commonwealth,” said Susan Kukic, director of development and alumni relations for the college. “While they have chosen to remain anonymous, they are important role models whose vision for the future of our students and our college will, I hope, inspire others to consider how they can support excellence in nursing and nursing education.”  

For information on this scholarship and the nursing program at Penn State, visit here.

University of San Francisco RN-MSN Pre-Application Webinar and Offer

University of San Francisco RN-MSN Pre-Application Webinar and Offer

View the Latest RN-MSN Online Event to Learn More about the University of San Francisco RN-MSN Program

Special Offer for RN-MSN Applicants

Any individuals who complete the University of San Francisco RN-MSN pre-application process will receive 1 year of Acadiate Pro free ($239 value). Also, individuals who complete the process prior to October 9th will receive personalized feedback on their pre-application.

Top Nursing Podcasts

Top Nursing Podcasts

Please note that all links are for iTunes.

1.    Johns Hopkins Health Newsfeed

Stay up-to-date with short podcasts on top medical storiesopens in new window from Johns Hopkins.

Each podcast is only about a minute, but provides nurses with the latest info in medicine. There are other subscription options from Johns Hopkins, such as Cancer News Reviewopens in new window and Brain Mattersopens in new window, which run a bit longer and offer information on specific topics.

2.    The Nursing Show

Tune into this weekly podcastopens in new window for news, tips, education and more for nurses at all levels.

The Nursing Show offers a wide range of content that spans nursing news, commentary and interviews from guest nurses and medication information. The host of the show is Jamie Davis, a nationally recognized medical educator whose programs and resources have been downloaded more than 6 million times by listeners and viewers.

3.    Medical Spanish

Receive interactive audio Spanish lessonsopens in new window to further develop your skills for medical settings.

These podcasts help you acquire medical vocabulary, learn correct pronunciation and understand native speakers. Many podcasts are free, while some podcasts and supplemental materials require a paid subscription. Host Molly Martin, a hospitalist in Minneapolis, Minnesota, also produces a Spanish Grammar Reviewopens in new window podcast.

4.    Travel Nursing Insider Podcast

Get the latest insightsopens in new window into the career of travel nursing.

These podcasts provide a wide range of information and advice for the travel nursing specialty. Learn more about this unique career and how to succeed from insiders who know the industry.

5.    A Cup of Health with CDC

Listen in to learn about interesting health factsopens in new window from the CDC.

The podcasts are presented in short, accessible chunks of two to six minutes and cover a wide range of statistics or facts. While basic, they can be useful when presenting this kind of information to patients to educate them about their health.

6.    The Oncology Nursing Podcast

Learn how to care for patients in different life and cancer stagesopens in new window.

These podcasts let listeners join oncology nurses as they discuss topics relevant to nursing practice and treating patients with cancer. Produced by the Oncology Nursing Society, episodes last about 20 minutes.

7.    Health Focus

Reinforce your health and medical knowledge with these short podcastsopens in new window.

This series of weekly interviews on South Carolina Radio features, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. It presents a wide range of topics presented by award-winning public broadcaster Bobbi Conner.

Enhancing Your Career in Nursing

Podcasts, books and articles are all helpful ways to develop your knowledge and skills. However, one of the best ways to boost your career opportunities is with a degree.

The online RN to BSN program from Aurora University can help nurses take a leadership role in their field. Nurses are able to learn how to be an asset in their current role and to pursue advanced career opportunities. The program takes place in an online learning environment, allowing students the flexibility and convenience to complete their degree while maintaining their work and personal schedule.

10 Big “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Interviewing

10 Big “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of Interviewing

Interviewing has a basic set of standards that should be foundations for every interview and permeate every aspect of the interviewing process. From your preparation to your final contact with HR or a hiring manager, you should adhere to these “do” and “don’t” principles.

5 Do’s

Be Honest

Character is one of the most important aspects any employee can have. No matter how good a liar you might be or how much you may stretch the truth, you give off cues that you are not telling the truth or the whole truth. If a potential employer gets the feeling that you are not being completely honest, it will be a huge red flag.

Hold Yourself Well

Posture says a lot about your personality and your attitude. Hold a professional posture that exudes professionalism, self-confidence, and a positive attitude. Don’t get too casual with how you sit or the language you use. Make solid eye contact and be actively engaged in listening.

Dress Professionally

If you are not sure how to dress, do some research. If you aren’t sure if you are over- or underdressed, err on the side of being overdressed. Never do the opposite. Most organizations post a general dress code. Be professional. You might have to invest in a nice business suit that fits you well. Don’t walk in looking unprofessional because of your clothes. Be sure you are well groomed and that your clothing looks professional.

Admit Weaknesses

As mentioned previously, we all have weaknesses. Acting as though you don’t is essentially lying or having a huge ego, neither of which is good during an interview. Remember that a weakness doesn’t mean you’re completely failing in a particular area—it just means that you are not as fluent in that area as in others. Weaknesses can be overcome, but character issues most likely won’t be.

Communicate Well With Human Resources

Human resources has a direct relationship with hiring personnel. If you are not professional in your interactions with HR or prove difficult to work with, that information will surely be communicated to the hiring team. Oftentimes an HR representative will sit in on the interview as well. Any interaction with someone involved in the hiring process should be taken seriously and handled professionally.

5 Don’ts

Fake It Till You Make It

To a certain extent you need to be able to back up everything you say during an interview. Sure, you could argue that you won’t lose a position after obtaining it if you can’t back up everything that was said during an interview. There is a level of cheating yourself you do with that mentality. To say you have something that you don’t actually possess shows a lack of integrity. This is why plagiarism is frowned on and so harshly punished. If you didn’t actually do the work for your degree, you are lying about your credentials and don’t possess the skills that your degree implies you do have. You are lying through the means of a degree because you can’t actually back up what that degree symbolizes or entails. To those who actually put in the work and possess the skills, that attitude is highly offensive. Make sure you can back up what you say.

Exaggerate

We all know people who dramatize every story to make themselves look as innocent as a dove and someone else as evil as Satan himself. Don’t be that person—don’t exaggerate a situation to make yourself look flawless. Don’t demean other people. This is not a healthy sign of a professional. Be clear, objective, and truthful. Talk more about actions and less about personalities. Oftentimes things can come across as gossip. Employers will not knowingly want to bring that into the workplace.

Bring Ego

This “don’t” could really wrap up a few others more generally. Bring your personality to the interview in a professional way, not your ego. Let the interviewers get a feel for who you are and what your likes and dislikes are. But don’t bring ego. People are almost automatically turned off by people with a “big head.” Ego could practically look like an overconfidence in oneself—a failure to admit any real weakness, never being able to admit you’re wrong, or that you think more highly of yourself than you do of others.

Be Irresponsible

There are so many things to say in this section. Be sure to take anything you need with you. Have an extra sheet of paper and a writing utensil to take notes. Show up at least 15 minutes early but don’t arrive at the interview more than 15 minutes early. If you are unfamiliar with how to get to the interview or how bad traffic might be, get there with plenty of time to spare. But if you are 20 or 30 minutes early, don’t let them know you are there. Wait until it’s between 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time and then show up to your appointment spot.

Take extra copies of your resume or any other documents, such as a letter of recommendation. If you carry a folder or writing utensil, be sure that they are in good condition as well. Make good eye contact and be sure to greet everyone in the room who is interviewing you.

Forget to Follow Up

Follow-up is an important aspect of an interview. It gives you one last opportunity to influence the interview panel or those making the hiring decision. During a follow-up, by phone or email, be as professional as possible. Thank them for the opportunity to interview for the position. Express how you think you’d be a great fit for the role. Let them know that you will wait to hear back regarding their decision. Don’t make them feel as if they need to respond to your email or that you are expecting a response from them. That is not appropriate for a follow-up. If you want a response to something, do it through HR.

Anything you can do to help increase your chances of getting a new job should be taken seriously. Implementing these ten foundational “do” and “don’t” principles will help set you apart from other candidates.

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