University at Buffalo Joins Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic

University at Buffalo Joins Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic

The University at Buffalo (UB) recently announced it has joined the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic. UB is joining more than 100 organizations who have also committed to the national effort.

The UB Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the UB Clinical Research Institute on Addictions (CRIA) have issued statements on their commitment to combatting the opioid crisis through collaborative, interdisciplinary efforts and partnerships. This includes more than 150 UB faculty members working to advance research, education, and clinical care on addiction, ranging from basic science to clinical and translational studies and health services research.

According to, CRIA is a research center of the University at Buffalo focused on addressing the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of substance use disorders.  Its scientists are members of multiple departments and schools within UB, allowing CRIA to explore interdisciplinary methods to address addiction issues.  

The university released the following statement following their announcement: “Our clinical faculty see firsthand the damaged patients who present to our emergency rooms, clinics, private offices—and our morgues. The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences hosts one of the nation’s first fellowships in addiction medicine as well as a fellowship in pain medicine, training future clinical leaders and researchers in the field of addiction.”

CRIA has also outlined the steps its researchers and clinicians have taken to address the opioid epidemic:

  • To address the epidemic in high-need counties throughout the state, CRIA works with UB’s Department of Family Medicine and the State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services
  • UB has spearheaded novel educational programs that have trained several thousand health professional students in UB’s School of Nursing, School of Dental Medicine, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions and the Jacobs School
  • The School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has developed an online continuing educational program focused on pain management, palliative care and addiction, which is mandated for New York State physicians who prescribe controlled substances
  • Continuing education programs developed and offered by CRIA about the opioid epidemic provide important information for the community
  • UB is a key partner with Erie County’s Opioid Epidemic Task Force

To learn more about the University of Buffalo’s announcement that it has joined the National Academy of Medicine Action Collaborative on Countering the U.S. Opioid Epidemic, visit here.

Columbia Nursing Discovers Link Between Healthcare Associated Infections and Nurse Understaffing

Columbia Nursing Discovers Link Between Healthcare Associated Infections and Nurse Understaffing

The Columbia University School of Nursing recently conducted a unit-level staffing study, which found an association between nurse understaffing and healthcare associated infections (HAIs) in patients. Their findings demonstrate that understaffing increases the risk of HAIs, ultimately adding billions to healthcare costs annually. 

The study examined data from over 100,000 patients and found that 15 percent of patient-days had one shift understaffed with registered nurses (defined as registered nurse [RN] staffing below 80 percent of the unit median for a shift) and 6.2% had both day and night shifts RN understaffed. Patients on units with both shifts understaffed with RNs were 15 percent more likely to develop HAIs on or after the third day of exposure to these periods of understaffing than were patients in units with both day and night shifts adequately staffed. The study also found units were understaffed with nursing supporting staff, defined as licensed practical nurses and nurse assistants, and this also increased patients’ risk of HAIs.

Lead author Jingjing Shang, PhD, associate professor at Columbia Nursing, stated in a press release, “As they often serve as coordinators within multidisciplinary health care teams, nurses play a critical role in preventing HAIs, which is a top priority for improving quality of care and reducing hospital costs. Being at the forefront of infection control and prevention is a unique responsibility and opportunity for nurses, and our study shows that hospital administrators should ensure adequate nurse staffing to provide the safest patient care. This could be achieved through better nurse recruitment and retention practices, together with methods of managing burnout and fatigue.”

The study found that in understaffed units, nurses experienced excessive workloads. Distressed working conditions may compromise infection prevention practices and surveillance activities intended to recognize the signs and symptoms of infection. Continuous understaffing may negatively impact nurses’ wellbeing as well as patient care.

To learn more about Columbia Nursing’s study on the link between healthcare associated infections and nurse understaffing, visit here

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.

New York Hospitals Tentatively Agree to Spend $100 Million on Hiring Nurses

New York Hospitals Tentatively Agree to Spend $100 Million on Hiring Nurses

The New York State Nurses Association reached an agreement this week on a four-year contract with the NYC Hospital Alliance in which the hospitals agreed to spend $100 million to fill vacancies and add new positions. The NYC Hospital Alliance is made up of Montefiore, Mount Sinai, and New York–Presbyterian health systems.

According to the New York State Nurses Association, the agreement could lead to the hiring of 1,450 nurses, adding to the estimated 11,000 nurses currently employed at facilities run by the three health systems. The agreement is tentative, and follows a months-long dispute over staffing levels.

The number of nurses hired will depend on the types of positions that the nurse’s union and hospitals agree to fill. If specialized nurses with higher salaries are in demand, the $100 million won’t yield as many hires. But the contract does comprise on the issue of staffing ratios, stating that nurse-to-patient ratios will be assigned based on how sick the patients are in a given unit. However, there will not be a maximum number of patients that a given nurse can treat at one time.

Marc Kramer, lead negotiator for the NYC Hospital Alliance, tells, “This significant investment in our nursing teams will ultimately benefit patients in the long term while preserving hospitals’ flexibility to deliver the individual, tailored health care that our institutions are known for around the world.”

The contract also outlines a new collaborative process for the nurse’s union and hospitals to address staffing needs. Union officials will meet with each health system’s management team annually to discuss staffing issues and hospitals have agreed to have an independent third party enforce staffing levels.

To learn more about a new agreement between the New York State Nurses Association and the NYC Hospital Alliance to spend $100 million on hiring nurses in an effort to address staffing shortages, visit here.

Neonatal Nurse: A Day in The Life

Neonatal Nurse: A Day in The Life

One of the most intense, yet most rewarding experiences in the field of nursing can be found in a place you may not expect: the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A day in the life of a neonatal nurse is never the same day twice, with patients ranging from babies who are born mostly healthy to those born with complications. It’s a profession with struggles, but the little victories that make them worthwhile.

In this article, we’ll take a look into the lives of neonatal nurses to find out what exactly their job entails, what it takes to get there, and how you can get started on the path to working in the NICU should you decide it’s the right career path for you. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a neonatal nurse, and what do they actually do,” then read on.


There are four different levels of care in a hospital’s neonatal unit, and a neonatal nurse could be assigned to any one of them, or work multiple levels. The first is the nursery, where healthy, full-term babies go until their parents can take them home from the hospital. Levels two through four are organized in escalating order of severity, with level four housing the most serious cases.

Level two is for babies who were full term but have fallen ill, infants born on the latter end of preterm but still early, and those with more minor health issues. Three is where infants born very prematurely, with major respiratory issues, or with defects. Level four is where babies born with major chronic issues requiring sustained care are placed. Some smaller hospitals will only have levels one and two, and then transfer more serious cases to larger and better-equipped facilities, while some can house all levels of care. In all cases, the duty of the NICU nurse encompasses both care for their infant patients and assisting the parents emotionally coping with the situation.

Kathleen Colduvell, a NICU nurse with a decade of experience under her belt, described the highs and lows of the job — the emotional toll it takes and the reward of seeing a patient make it through — on a blog entry for a nursing website:

“Even though there has been more heartache than I care to remember, the success stories make every single minute of my shifts worthwhile. We fight to help our patients breathe on their own, take bottles independently, and achieve their developmental milestones, and that is such a reward.”

A neonatal nurse’s shifts are often 12 hours long, and at variable times, as their tiny patients often need round the clock care. The babies are fed every three hours, and the nurse will often conduct any testing or procedures like blood draws during feedings to make sure the infant can spend the majority of their time on rest and recovery. The amount each baby can eat needs to be monitored and adjusted according to their condition, vitals need to be checked, and a plethora of other variables need attending to for each patient. In addition to these duties, a NICU nurse will often end up helping the babies’ families, explaining care and procedures to them to keep them informed.

A common saying in the nursing world, and to which the NICU is no exception, is that “there is no typical day.” Neonatal nurses have to be close by their patients to lend them the best possible care, especially since babies can’t articulate what may be happening with them. Anyone who describes the job will tell you it can be challenging, but also that they love it and wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. One nurse described helping parents care for their child for the first time as especially rewarding:

“…there are a thousand amazing great things about being a NICU nurse. You can be the first person to help a mom see, touch, or even hold her fragile little preemie. You get to help people become parents for the first time and do ‘normal’ parent things like change diapers for the 1st [sic] time while working alongside an oscillator and IV pumps. We facilitate all those early and important bonding tasks, regardless of the baby’s acuity, there’s always something the parents can do and we get to show them that.”


In order to specialize in neonatal nursing, you need to already have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After that, two or more years of experience working with neonatal patients and a passing score on the certification exam for neonatal nursing must be completed. Areas of care recommended for gaining those years of clinical experience include:

  • Labor and delivery nursing
  • Maternal-child nursing
  • Pediatric nursing
  • Well baby nursing

There are two main routes candidates for a neonatal nursing job usually take to become certified: a critical care neonatal nursing certification (CCRN) via the American Association of Critical Care Nursing, or an RNC Certification for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing (RNC-NIC) via the National Certification Corporation. If you wish to further certify to gain a leg up on the competition and increase your job prospects, you can choose to get one of the following certifications:

  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification
  • Basic Life Support (BLS) certification
  • Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) certification

Nurses can pursue some or all of the above to reinforce their professional tool kit. Continuing education programs through accredited providers like the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) are also necessary to remain at the top of your game as you progress along a career path in the NICU.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a rise in demand and a healthy job outlook for the nursing field as a whole over the next decade, and that demand will be even higher for nursing professionals in specialized fields. As a large portion of the nursing workforce nears retirement, more will need to be recruited to replace them. The median salary for a registered nurse is around $73,500 according to the BLS, but respondents on Payscale report an average salary of $97,306.


At D’Youville Online, we’ve designed our online RN to BSN program with working nurses in mind, to let you gain the knowledge and skills necessary for the next level of your career on your time. Our courses run the gambit from evidence-based practice to enhancing patient outcomes, and you can complete the clinical component of the program where you already work.

Our program is CCNE accredited and taught by passionate, highly-educated professionals actively working in the field of nursing. A rolling admissions policy means you can sign up when you want, and the program can be completed in as little as two years. If you’re ready to advance yourself and your career visit our website for a detailed breakdown of courses and credit hours required.

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Nurse of the Week: National Academy of Medicine Names NYU Nursing Professor Allison Squires Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence

Nurse of the Week: National Academy of Medicine Names NYU Nursing Professor Allison Squires Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence

Our Nurse of the Week is Allison Squires, a professor in the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, who has been selected as the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence for the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Study.

The Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program is supported by the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Foundation. It is a year-long opportunity for a fellow of the Academy to engage with nurse leaders and other scholars at the National Academy of Medicine while helping to develop health policy at the federal level.

Squires is a global health workforce capacity-building researcher with a special interest in improving immigrant and refugee health outcomes. As the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence, Squires will examine methods for increasing interprofessional collaboration and maximizing the skills of nurses through sustainable development perspectives.

Squires stated in a press release: “I am honored to be selected for this opportunity to represent the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association, and the American Nurses Foundation while undertaking this important work at the National Academy of Medicine, in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This is an excellent chance for me to utilize my international focus to advance NAM’s research on health equity and the sustainability of our nation’s nursing workforce.”

Squires was selected as the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence for her strong policy background and stated focus to examine and address sustainability of the workforce from the perspective of integrating social determinants of health. Her study comes at a critical time and will be vital to determining nursing’s course in the coming decades.

To learn more about NYU Professor Allison Squires who was selected as the National Academy of Medicine Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence for the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Study, visit here.

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