10 Things Nurses Need to Know about the Measles Outbreak

10 Things Nurses Need to Know about the Measles Outbreak

From New Years’ Day 2019 through April 11th, the United States has reported 555 cases of measles in 20 states—the second largest measles outbreak reported since the disease was eliminated in 2000. Keep reading to learn the 10 things nurses need to know about the measles outbreak:

1. Measles is brought into the U.S. by travelers who’ve been in foreign countries where the disease is prevalent—countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. It is then spread in U.S. communities via contact with pockets of unvaccinated populations.

2. Measles outbreaks, defined as three or more reported cases, are currently ongoing in Rockland County New York, New York City, New Jersey, Washington state, Michigan, and the counties of Butte County California. In addition, new cases have recently been identified in New York’s Westchester and Sullivan counties.

3. Once a person is exposed to the measles virus, it may take up to two weeks before symptoms begin to show. A person is contagious four days before the tell-tale rash appears and for four days after. Measles is an airborne virus that can be shed by those infected long before the symptoms arise.

4. There is no available antiviral therapy to cure measles—only supportive therapy for the symptoms, among which are those similar to the common cold: fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, followed by conjunctivitis and body rash. Measles can sometimes lead to more serious and life-threatening complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis.

5. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a health emergency in the neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is mandating unvaccinated residents to become vaccinated. Those not complying could receive violations and fines of $1,000.

Actions Taken

6. Mayor de Blasio has sent a team of “disease detectives” into the Hasidic Community in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, where nearly half of the U.S. cases reported are identified.

7. Coincidentally, the New York State Nurses Association just reached an agreement with the NYC Hospital Alliance to hire more nurses to fill vacancies and add new positions.

8. Detroit is urging those Michiganders vaccinated prior to 1989 to receive a booster vaccination.

How Nurses Play a Role

9. The role of nurses in these outbreaks is education and the promotion of vaccination.

10. It is critical that frontline health care professionals are vaccinated themselves in order to prevent the further spread of the virus, particularly when treating those patients infected by the disease.

Home Health Nursing: A Change of Scenery Can Do Some Good

Home Health Nursing: A Change of Scenery Can Do Some Good

Longing for flexible schedules? An opportunity to spend time with patients? Many nurses have achieved these goals in their nursing career by making the move to home health nursing. Rather than juggling the care of several patients simultaneously, these nurses can see each patient one at a time, without the usual distractions that hamper the ability to care for patients in hospitals or other facilities.

Nursing Leadership in Home Care

Although patients are also seen by other health professionals when under medical care, nursing often takes the leadership role. Home care can involve visits by occupational, physical, and speech therapists, as well as pharmacists and nurse specialists.

Most patients have follow-up appointments after a hospital admission, surgery, or other change in condition as ordered by their physician, while other patients are visited in the home for palliative and end-of-life hospice care.

Core Competencies

The nursing competencies most critical in the delivery of home care are built on a nursing education followed by a good foundation of experience in medical or surgical nursing. Independence and creative thinking are also important, especially in assessment, phlebotomy, and IV, as well as wound care while working independently in the field.

Home health nurses should be comfortable being alone as they navigate their service area and travel to unfamiliar places. Having a GPA program in your car and a map is crucial in case you get lost. 

Safety First

There are some important safety considerations for success in home health nursing. These include keeping your vehicle in good working order, monitoring your fuel tank’s level, and leaving all non-essential valuables at home. If you are assigned with an electronic point of care device for documentation, guard it carefully. Staying alert and observant can prevent unexpected mishaps, theft, and violation of the patient’s privacy.

Visiting patients in their own homes make it possible to develop relationships with them while allowing for more time to focus on educating them about their health. For many nurses, this is the most rewarding work of all.

To learn more about home health nursing, visit here.

What Is Utilization Review?

What Is Utilization Review?

Nurses working in busy clinical arenas often hear about nurses who have left the floor to work in administrative departments. Such nurses may be encountered when they come requesting an update regarding a patient’s condition. However, most clinicians are far too preoccupied with their own responsibilities to learn what those nurses actually do or where they fit in their patient’s care continuum.

Utilization review is one of the least understood but incredibly essential departments in managing the cost of health care. Experienced nurses can bring a valuable perspective to this field.

How Does Utilization Review Fit into The Big Health Care Picture?

Utilization review nurses perform frequent case reviews, check medical records, speak with patients and care providers regarding treatment, and respond to the plan of care. They also make recommendations regarding the appropriateness of care for identified diagnoses based on the research results for those conditions. Furthermore, they also assist with determining whether a treatment meets the criteria for reimbursement by the insurance plan.

Utilization review nurses are also found in discharge planning roles to ensure that patients make a safe transition from acute to home care. They are involved in pre-certification, which determines whether a recommended procedure, medication, or therapy is appropriate for an individual according to the guidelines of their insurance plan.

How to Move into Utilization Review

The minimum credentials for working in utilization review are being licensed as a registered nurse and having a good base of general nursing experience in medical-surgical nursing. Many employers require a BSN over an associate’s degree, and sometimes specific certifications in utilization review or risk management.

Good communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to excel under stress with minimal supervision are also critical for a successful utilization review career. Fortunately, on-the-job training is often provided for these roles.

The benefits of moving to utilization review can include a more regular schedule, a predictable salary, and perhaps even the ability to work remotely.

Going Corporate: Becoming a Clinical Consultant or Educator for Medical Device Companies

Going Corporate: Becoming a Clinical Consultant or Educator for Medical Device Companies

Moving Nurses Out of Traditional Roles

Nursing careers can take us to creative places beyond the bedside, ED, or OR. For instance, certain specialties lend themselves to medical device and pharmaceutical corporations to serve as clinical support consultants and sales representatives. Particularly, these include critical care, cardiology, emergency care, wound care, and diabetes education.

Nurses Uniquely Qualified to Transition

Nurses are well-versed in basic science and human pathology and have first-hand experience with many of the products themselves, enabling them to bring their unique perspective to these roles. The job requirements and education may vary, but they commonly require at least a BSN degree.

Be Prepared to Go Mobile

These professionals often work remotely, so computer fluency is a must. Competency in Microsoft Office and G Suite is expected, while the industry’s predominant use of apps like Evernote, Slack, or Trello require you to be a smartphone and tablet superuser, too.

Speak Up! Personality Counts

An affinity for public speaking is crucial in medical sales and consulting. Speaking at seminars, trade shows, and in-services is common. Additionally, this field requires tenacity for success — you’ll need to discover your unique approach to what one medical sales professional calls “meaningful persistence.”

Travel is the Norm

These are mobile positions, so expect to spend significant time traveling locally, regionally, or nationally. Most likely you will be required to use your personal vehicle for travel and receive reimbursement for business-related travel mileage.

Regulation is Regular

Since health care is heavily regulated by the Federal Government, these positions often require regulatory reporting or audit duties. Therefore, you will need familiarity with any regulations pertaining to the device, medication, or equipment you’re representing.

These are just a few of the requirements for roles in medical sales and device consultation.

To explore other nursing careers, visit here.

Could Dialysis Nursing Be in Your Future?

Could Dialysis Nursing Be in Your Future?

About 650,000 Americans are currently affected by End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and this number is increasing by 5% annually. The primary causes of kidney failure leading to ESRD are poorly managed diabetes and high blood pressure, the treatment options for which are limited to kidney transplant and dialysis. Unfortunately, there are currently more than 93,000 potential recipients on the kidney transplant waiting list and 80% of those individuals are on kidney dialysis while they wait.

Demand for Nurses is Growing

The specialty of nephrology and dialysis nursing continues to grow with these rising ESRD numbers. In fact, nephrology nursing is expected to grow over 25% within the next 10 years. These nurses can expect an attractive salary and a diverse working environment. Nephrology nurses might work on a typical hospital unit, but those who perform dialysis also work in dialysis centers, nursing homes, inpatient hospice centers, and even in-home health.

Nurses Develop Deeper Relationships with Patients

Renal failure is a chronic condition, so those who suffer from it must access care frequently. This means nephrology nurses will see their patients regularly. Dialysis nurses often have the ability to work with patients one on one, providing an opportunity to give care in a much more personal, attentive way. They also care for their patients through the continuum of the disease progression, so they get to know their patients quite well.

Certification and Advanced Education for Leadership

A nephrology nurse may elect to pursue certification or even further education and their Nephrology Nurse Practitioner certification. These nurses take their practice deeper, providing primary care for their patients who battle ESRD during dialysis and even after transplant—if and when that becomes possible.

There are plenty of worthwhile opportunities for nurses to make a difference in the lives of renal patients whose prognosis can be dire. Examples of such opportunities and further information on dialysis nursing can be found here.

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