Nurse of the Week: Nurse Manager Joan Riggs Earns Healthcare Achievement Award for Elder Care Initiative

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Manager Joan Riggs Earns Healthcare Achievement Award for Elder Care Initiative

Our Nurse of the Week is Joan Riggs, RN, who was recently awarded a Health Care Achievement Award for her advocacy and work in hospital-based quality and safety initiatives for elder patients. The award was granted by the Long Island Business News (LIBN) whose Healthcare Achievement Awards honor individuals and organizations in the healthcare industry for outstanding leadership, service, and innovation.

Riggs currently works as a Nurse Manager at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Long Island, NY, which has been designated as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders) hospital as a direct result of Riggs’ work on caretaker education and healthcare center around elder patients. Following a NICHE conference in 2015, Riggs developed and spearheaded a hospital-wide initiative to advance care for elder patients at South Nassau. Since the program began, over 20 registered nurses have completed geriatric certification or become geriatric resource nurses.

NICHE is an international program based out of the NYU College of Nursing that provides principles and tools to stimulate a change in the culture of healthcare facilities to achieve patient-centered care for elder patients. The NICHE network includes over 680 hospitals and healthcare organizations in the US, Canada, Bermuda, and Singapore.

Riggs joined South Nassau in 2010 as the Nurse Manager of the Medical Surgical Telemetry Unit. With 31 professional years in healthcare, Riggs has spent her career working in surgical intensive care and trauma units. Now she’s using her expertise to improve elder care for hospital patients at South Nassau.

To learn more about Joan Riggs and her Healthcare Achievement Award for her efforts to improve elder care, visit here.

Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing Opens Telemedicine Center

Binghamton University’s Decker School of Nursing Opens Telemedicine Center

The Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University is giving telemedicine a big boost with the opening of the new Southern Tier Telemedicine and Mobile Health Research Development and Training Center. The center is the product of a joint effort between the Decker School of Nursing and Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Telemedicine brings healthcare to a patient via telecommunication and information technology without the patient having to travel. The Decker School of Nursing’s new center will help expand healthcare to local, rural, and remote areas in many different ways. Telehealth is not intended to replace clinical practice in a physical setting; it is simply intended to reach those individuals who don’t have access to care.

Ann Fronczek, assistant professor at the Decker School of Nursing, tells The University Network, “With the new Center, we are able to expand simulation and clinical experiences for students as well as offer opportunities for the local community to explore possibilities in telemedicine. We can expose students to telemedicine and technologies that they may or may not have a chance to experience during their clinical rotations.”

Decker’s new center has three fully functional telemedicine cart set-ups where students can practice assessments that are transmitted to another location. Students have been impressed by the virtual care that can be provided and have been providing positive feedback about their training at the center. The school is also working with hospitals in six surrounding rural communities to train their healthcare providers to help deliver high-quality care to underserved patients.

To learn more about the Decker School of Nursing’s new telemedicine center, visit here.

NYU College of Nursing Names Inaugural Vernice D. Ferguson Professor in Health Equity

NYU College of Nursing Names Inaugural Vernice D. Ferguson Professor in Health Equity

The NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing recently named Jacquelyn Taylor, PhD, PNP-BC, RN, FAHA, FAAN, the inaugural Vernice D. Ferguson Professor in Health Equity. Vernice D. Ferguson (1928-2012) was a distinguished nurse leader, educator, and champion for the health of all people.

Ferguson received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from NYU, before going on to pioneer leadership positions for nurses and elevate the nursing profession through advocating for increased opportunities, respect, and wages, as well as fostering nursing research. She also served as the chief nurse executive for the Veterans Administration, president of the American Academy of Nursing and Sigma Theta Tau International, and she was recognized as a Living Legend in the American Academy of Nursing.

In recognition of her leadership and service to the nursing profession, NYU’s College of Nursing established an endowed professorship in her name: the Vernice D. Ferguson Professor in Health Equity. Taylor’s work in this role will focus on the social factors that contribute to health disparities for common chronic conditions among underrepresented minority populations in the United States and abroad. She is also in the midst of conducting a study on the genomics of lead poisoning in Flint, MI.

Taylor’s work has been highly praised in the past, including being awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by President Barack Obama in January 2017, the highest honor awarded by the federal government to scientists and engineers.

To learn more about Dr. Taylor and her new role as Inaugural Vernice D. Ferguson Professor in Health Equity at NYU, visit here.

Nurses of the Week: Surgical Mission to Ecuador Becomes Once in a Lifetime Opportunity for Columbia CRNA Students

Nurses of the Week: Surgical Mission to Ecuador Becomes Once in a Lifetime Opportunity for Columbia CRNA Students

In honor of CRNA Week, our Nurses of the Week are two Columbia University nursing students who traveled to Ecuador on a surgical mission. Julian Piazzola and William Scott, both members of the Columbia Nursing Class of 2018, jumped at the opportunity to assist a surgical mission in Ecuador. As Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) students, it was the perfect opportunity to participate in a clinical rotation while also getting to travel abroad.

The students were accompanied by Michael Greco, DNP, director of Columbia’s Nurse Anesthesia Program, on the week-long health mission with Blanca’s House to bring quality medical care to countries and communities in Latin America. Their clinical experience in Ecuador included setting up an operating room to provide anesthesia for total knee replacements and head and neck cases for local citizens.

Although the clinical hours they completed in Ecuador did not count toward their hour requirements for official CRNA licensing, Piazzola and Scott say their medical mission was an invaluable opportunity to volunteer their services to patients in need. Piazzola tells

“Providing care in a remote location was extremely rewarding. I felt the impact we made on this community, and I left with such a positive feeling about the patient experience, which is integral to nursing care.”

To read Columbia Nursing’s full interview with Piazzola and Scott about their experiences volunteering on a surgical mission to Ecuador, visit here.

New York Becomes First State to Require Nurses to Obtain Bachelor’s Degrees

New York Becomes First State to Require Nurses to Obtain Bachelor’s Degrees

The Empire State recently became the first state in the nation to require nurses to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the beginning of January, the bill requires that new nurses obtain a bachelor’s degree within 10 years of initial licensure. This type of legislation, commonly known as “BSN in 10,” has been pushed across the nation, but New York is the first state to actually pass a law.

The legislation takes effect immediately but the requirement that nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree or higher within 10 years of licensure will begin in 30 months. It does not affect nurses already in practice.

The drive for “BSN in 10” legislation has been largely fueled by research. Linda H. Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has published research showing that employing more nurses with bachelor’s degrees improves patient outcomes. Her research has also found that for each 10% increase in nurses with BSN degrees, there was a 5% decline in risk-adjusted patient mortality.

The Institute of Medicine has also been a large driver for this type of nursing legislation following their 2010 report, The Future of Nursing, which recommends that 80% of nurses have at least a BSN by 2020. New York nursing programs have been in support as well, including Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of New York University’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. According to, Sullivan-Marx released the following statement:

“NYU has been a strong supporter of ‘BSN in 10’ legislation, given its implication for improving patient care. Research shows that patients benefit from baccalaureate-prepared nurses—in fact, several large studies show that it saves lives. Earning bachelor’s degrees also creates opportunities for career mobility and leadership among nurses.”

The bill also establishes a commission to evaluate and report on barriers to entry into the nursing profession and make recommendations on increasing availability and accessibility of nursing programs. As the first state to set “BSN in 10” legislation, New York will set an example going forward on how this type of legislation can improve patient outcomes. To learn more about New York’s “BSN in 10” law, visit here.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Receives Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Receives Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant

The Philips School of Nursing (PSON) at Mount Sinai Beth Israel recently received a Nursing Workforce Diversity grant of $800,000 from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The four-year HRSA grant is intended to help increase access to nursing education for students from diverse backgrounds.

PSON’s new grant will support its Workforce Inclusion in Nursing (WIN) program to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of individuals from diverse backgrounds in the Accelerated Associate of Applied Science program. WIN is the only accelerated associate nursing degree program in the country. Students will receive scholarships and monthly stipends, and the grant will help create new student services including an immersive Summer Boot Camp and mentoring program.

Carleen Graham, MSN, RN, NY-SAFE, Program Coordinator, will serve as program director for WIN, which will follow 21 students from entry to graduation throughout the grant period. She tells

“It is an honor to be given such an amazing opportunity and responsibility. It is not only important to our school; it is important to our future nurses and the communities they will serve. This grant will help to address the shortage of nurses from underrepresented groups in New York City – considered to be one of the most diverse cities in the country. We are extremely excited to begin work on this important initiative”

Graduates of the fifteen-month WIN program will be eligible for Registered Nurse license examination upon graduation and will be offered direct entry into PSON’s accelerated program allowing registered nurses to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. Graduates of the WIN program will also receive assistance in securing employment as a registered nurse.

To learn more about Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Philips School of Nursing workforce diversity grant, visit here.

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