Michigan State University’s (MSU) College of Nursing has taken a step toward increasing reporting and minimizing human trafficking by creating a training program to teach students about this serious public health issue. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 943 human trafficking cases have been reported in the state of Michigan from 2007 to 2017. The Health Law Center has announced that human trafficking has reached an alarming level in the US.
MSU Professional Program Coordinator Kathy Forrest tells StateNews.com, “Human trafficking is very prevalent in the United States. It is a form of human slavery, human bondage. It’s a public health issue for the individuals who are being trafficked. It is often an underground activity that is spread by social media and affects the vulnerable among us.”
StateNews.com cites that 138 individuals in the MSU College of Nursing have completed the online course for human trafficking which requires professionals to take the training to get or renew a new license or registration. Professionals who are required to satisfy the trainings include nurses, counselors, physicians, social workers, and massage therapists. The training includes learning the types and venues of human trafficking in the US and in Michigan, how to identify victims in health care settings, how to identify warning signs, and what resources are available for reporting.
MSU Clinical Associate Professor of Osteopathic Specialties Alan Janssen wants to increase awareness of the public health issue and educate nurses and other healthcare professionals on how to address the problem. He also hopes that increased awareness will lead to better treatment resources.
To learn more about MSU’s online course on human trafficking and steps to begin combatting this dangerous issue, visit here.
This past summer, a group of nurses in Pennsylvania created the nonprofit Nurses of Pennsylvania with the main goal to be to focus on the safety and care of patients in health care.
According to a statement issued in September, Nurses of Pennsylvania is a group “of, by, and for nurses focused on improving the bedside care nurses provide. PA nurses work in cities and small towns, at large hospitals, in nursing homes, and more—tied together by our commitment to our patients, our families, and our communities. United for quality care, Nurses of Pennsylvania is focused on leading the state to a healthcare system that gives nurses a seat at the decision-making table and puts patients first.”
As stated on their website, more than 10,000 nurses have joined—either online or in-person—since the group launched. Initially funded by union nurses in SEIU HCPA, the Nurses of Pennsylvania is managed by a volunteer board of nurses and advocates in the health care field.
Under the heading “Why Nurses,” the group states: “Nurses are the single biggest group of people in the healthcare system. We spend the most time with our patients, and are the people who they see and interact with the most. We provide most of the care that patients receive, and our priority is always our patients’ well-being first, money second. We are the most respected profession in American for the last 15 years in a row, and we live in every county in the state. If anyone has the power and the motivation to fix healthcare in this country, it is nurses together, and if we can do it in Pennsylvania then we can do it anywhere.”
The nonprofit has already released a report, “Breaking Point: Pennsylvania’s Patient Care Crisis,” the results of which are based on a survey of 1,000 nurses located throughout the state of Pennsylvania. The results found that while Pennsylvania is not currently experiencing a nursing shortage, staffing decisions made by individual facilities and the ability to retain qualified nurses have fueled a crisis in patient care. An overwhelming 94% of nurses reported that their facility does not have enough nursing staff and 87% reported that staffing levels affecting patient care are getting worse.
“We spend the most time with patients, and we’re the people patients and their families rely on the most,” Jake Reese, a nurse in Scranton, PA as well as a Nurses of Pennsylvania board member, said in a statement. “As nurses, we take pride in buckling down and figuring out solutions at warp speed, but there is only so far any one of us can stretch. Giant corporations and multi-billion-dollar hospital systems are making decisions about care and care delivery farther and farther away from the bedside. This has to stop. We’re playing with first and we cannot stand by any longer. As Nurses of Pennsylvania, we’re speaking out and sharing our stories like never before.”
For more information about the Nurses of Pennsylvania, visit www.nursesofpa.org.
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.
In the latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Republican lawmakers have introduced the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill which many anticipate will deny healthcare to millions of low and middle-income Americans. The bill has received widespread criticism from the healthcare community including nursing organizations, insurance groups, state hospital associations, and more.
The Capitol Beat, published by the American Nurses Association (ANA), states that the legislation sponsored by Sens. Bill Cassidy and Lindsey Graham would make drastic and dangerous cuts to the American healthcare system by repealing Medicaid expansion starting in 2020, eliminating the critical Prevention and Public Health Fund, and creating high-risk pools for individuals with pre-existing conditions, among other misguided policies.
The legislation would also eliminate the definition of essential health benefits, allowing individual states and insurance companies to opt out of covering maternity care, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and hospitalization, while also allowing insurers to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, according to CommonDreams.org.
Proposed just 10 days before the September 30 deadline for Republicans to pass ACA repeal, nurses believe the Graham-Cassidy Amendment is worse than previous versions of ACA repeal. National Nurses United (NNU) Co-President Deborah Burger tells CommonDreams.org, “Graham-Cassidy is especially punitive to the sick and ill, and others with pre-existing health conditions who stand to lose any of the protections established by the ACA under the state waiver provisions to the proposal.”
To learn more about the Graham-Cassidy Bill and nurse opposition to the pending ACA repeal, visit here.
In early June, the US House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation reauthorizing the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV). The program was enacted under the Affordable Care Act to fund efforts to pair new or existing parents with professionals.
The legislation, called the Increasing Opportunity through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act, calls for a five-year extension at the current annual allocation of $400 million. The Home Visiting Coalition, a group of 48 early childhood and home visiting advocates and service providers, applauds the decision to reauthorize the legislation which was set to expire in September. However, the Coalition has also launched a public campaign calling for an increase in funding.
The Coalition’s official campaign announcement reads: “[The coalition] is calling for a five-year reauthorization with incremental funding increases until MIECHV reaches the funding level of $800 million per year.” This increase in funding, which the Coalition has asked to be reached by the final year of authorization, is intended to meet a growing need for effective evidence-based home visiting.
Home visiting has been proven to increase school readiness, family self-sufficiency, and decrease child maltreatment and domestic violence. First Focus Vice President Karen Howard, co-convener of the Home Visiting Coalition, says, “Regular visits by caring, experienced professionals and trained peers can help parents turn their good intentions into good, solid parenting and coping skills.” While the five-year extension gives states and communities stability and security to continue effective home visiting services to improve health and well-being of the nation’s most vulnerable children and families, major improvements could be made if the additional funding is approved.
To learn more about the Home Visiting Coalition’s stance on the MIECHV legislation, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Yaneli Arizmendi, a University of Pennsylvania (Penn) nursing senior who is spearheading an after-school program for Latino high school students in South Philadelphia intended to drive improved academic success and build self-efficacy. The project titled Lanzando Lideres (Launching Leaders) will be funded via Penn’s Engagement and Innovation Prize program. Yaneli was one of eight undergraduate students to receive the honor following her internship with Puentes de Salud as part of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Nursing Internship Program.
Yaneli will work with Alexa Salas and Camilo Toro, seniors in the College of Arts & Sciences, under mentorship from Toni Villarruel, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing. These students want to position Latino high school students to reach their personal, educational, and professional goals through an experiential, bilingual, and culturally-inclusive curriculum which will serve as the touchstone for the Lanzando Lideres program.
To learn more about Yaneli’s leadership on the Lanzando Lideres project and her background in nursing, read our full interview with her here:
What made you decide to pursue a nursing degree?
I’m very hands-on, so I’ve always wanted to pursue a career that requires physical engagement and practical application. My experience at Puentes de Salud – through the Independence Blue Cross Foundation’s Nursing Internship Program – cemented my desire to pursue a career in nursing. At the clinic, I worked with the triage nurse to initiate the visits for the walk-in patients. The clinic was always full because of the demand for patient care services, so the wait times were long. After learning the structure of the clinic, I started to begin triage for the provider and gather information about the chief complaint to determine whether the patient needed to be seen and, in certain cases, prepare the patient to see a doctor.
Tell me about your involvement with the after-school program for Latino high school students in Philadelphia.
Right now, we are still in the early stages of collaboration with our partner, Puentes de Salud, a south Philadelphia-based nonprofit that promotes the health and wellness of the rapidly growing Latino immigrant population through high-quality health care, innovative educational programs, and community building. Our program will be rooted in three principles: education, enrichment, and engagement.
We plan to launch the program in September, so our first priority is to develop an experiential, bilingual, and culturally inclusive curriculum that will serve as the touchstone of our program. Eventually, we will disseminate our curriculum and resources through an interactive website for students, tutors, and a larger community of Latino youth worldwide.
Ultimately, we hope to create a culturally grounded, community-based program that helps drive improved academic performance and builds self-efficacy, so students are positioned to reach their personal, educational, and professional goals.
What is the mission or goal of the program?
The program’s mission is to continuously improve the long-term health and prosperity of the South Philadelphia Latino immigrant community by actively addressing social and systematic inequities.
Was your internship at Puentes de Salud your inspiration for the after-school project?
The internship was an inspiration for the after-school program because it exposed me to the need in the community and the strategies to address health disparities. The relationship between community work, education, and health has a lot of potential when addressing the social inequities. Currently, the education program only serves elementary school students, but it does not serve high-school students, and my team and I hope to expand the mission of Puentes de Salud.
How do you think your internship and involvement with the after-school program will benefit and impact your nursing career in the future?
My internship and involvement with the after-school program have enriched my nursing career. I hope to continue to work with this population and serve the community holistically. I want to address the social determinants of health in my community and remain an advocate.
What are your future plans for a career in nursing?
In the short-term, I will continue my education via the University of Pennsylvania’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program.