Arizona State University and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Announce New Partnership to Help Prepare Future Pediatric Nurses

Arizona State University and Phoenix Children’s Hospital Announce New Partnership to Help Prepare Future Pediatric Nurses

Arizona State University’s (ASU) Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation has announced a new strategic partnership with Phoenix Children’s Hospital to develop pre-licensure and graduate-level programs that will enhance the preparation of Arizona’s future pediatric nurses. 

Leaders from both institutions recently formed a joint operating committee to enhance education, research efforts, and train the next generation of pediatric clinical talent. ASU’s Edson College of Nursing created a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) for pre-licensure nursing students and collaborated on the development of the Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Certificate Program Curriculum for graduate-level nursing students.

Julie Bowman, Chief Nursing Officer at Phoenix Children’s, tells, “Our primary goal is to develop high quality, nationally renowned pediatric nursing programs that offer students increased time at the pediatric patient bedside. A DEU like the one at Phoenix Children’s is one of the first of its kind in pediatrics, and this program helps develop ‘workforce ready’ nurses who are confident in their ability to work with young patients.”

The new DEU program includes a pediatric elective with course credits for pre-licensure nursing students interested in pediatric care, and gives students a total of 72 focused hours of time at the patient bedside at Phoenix Children’s. The program sets students up for success by pairing them with a dedicated Phoenix Children’s nurse preceptor for students to shadow for six full nursing shifts. Hospital staff also gain early insights into prospective nurses who may wish to join the Phoenix Children’s team. 

To complete the program, students complete a major intervention project where they identify an issue in patient care, conduct ongoing research, and implement a solution within a department. Their insights and research outcomes become a crucial part of the Phoenix Children’s care model. This gives ASU nursing students an opportunity to learn nurse management and improve pediatric care on a broad scale in one of the fastest growing cities in the US.

To learn more about the new partnership between the Arizona State University College of Nursing and Phoenix Children’s Hospital to help prepare future pediatric nurses, visit here

University of Florida’s Nursing Diversity Program Serves as a National Model

University of Florida’s Nursing Diversity Program Serves as a National Model

The University of Florida (UF) College of Nursing has created an innovative research and leadership program for underrepresented undergraduate students. The EMBRACE program—Engaging Multiple-communities of BSN students in Research and Academic Curricular Experiences—was created in 2016 and has continued to evolve to meet the needs of students and changes in education and healthcare. 

The central pillar of the program is mentorship and each participating student is paired with a nursing faculty member who best matches the student’s research interest. Students are expected to complete a research, leadership, educational, or quality improvement project with their faculty mentor and participate in monthly meetings. The framework of the program now serves as a model for other colleges seeking to create opportunities to advance diversity and inclusion of underrepresented students. 

Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, PhD, RN, FAAN, a College of Nursing associate professor and director of diversity and inclusion, tells, “Junior and senior students who are part of the EMBRACE program are receiving hands-on experiences in research, evidence-based practice and leadership opportunities. During the monthly meetings, they also learn from their peers and from guest speakers, such as alumni who are leaders in research, policy or entrepreneurship, and also current students. The EMBRACE students have the opportunity to present in research conferences, be part of internal and external professional committees and compete for academic awards that acknowledge their work.”

The EMBRACE program takes an innovative approach to motivate students with a diverse background to think about their next steps and have the ability to see themselves advance as nurse leaders. Stacciarini hopes the program will encourage other nursing schools to develop similar diversity programs and believes that recognizing the dynamic shift in the country’s population will be at the forefront of creating a learning environment that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds.

To learn more about how the University of Florida College of Nursing’s diversity program has become a national model, visit here.

Be a Voice for Excellence in Veterans’ Nursing Care: Become a VA Nurse Executive

Be a Voice for Excellence in Veterans’ Nursing Care: Become a VA Nurse Executive

Nursing services are critically important at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as they are at any healthcare organization. But thanks to VA’s Nurse Executives and a commitment to collaboration, nurses are always at the table when decisions are made about Veterans’ healthcare.

“At every VA that I’m aware of, the Nurse Executive is on the senior leadership team,” said Timothy Cooke, Medical Center Director at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in West Virginia and who colleagues roundly praise as a strong supporter of VA nursing. “Our common bond is that we put Veterans at the center, and everyone who supports that are equal in their service to them.”

For Cooke, that equality extends to anyone knocking on his door to discuss a clinical practice challenge, innovation or another matter.

“We can walk into anyone else’s office and discuss a situation freely and without prejudice,” he said of his staff. “It’s not ‘my’ problem or ‘your’ problem. If we have a situation, it’s our problem or our issue to resolve together.”

Collaborating nationally to improve care locally

VA Nurse Executives, stationed around the country, are highly respected and skilled, and together lead VA’s nearly 100,000-strong nursing service. Whether they’re serving as Chief Nurse, Director of Nursing Services or Associate Director of Patient Care Services, each nurse leader is working toward improved nursing care for the nation’s Veterans.

“Nurse Executives advocate for and promote evidence-based clinical practices that enable all nursing staff to function at the top of their license in the provision of care to Veterans,” said Kathleen Barry, National Program Director for Workforce and Leadership at VA’s Office of Nursing Services.

Despite being located in nearly every state and the territories, VA encourages Nurse Executives to learn from each other through national email groups, comprehensive national and local nursing websites, and internal networking and discussion boards.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of being a VA Nurse Executive is having 141 fellow Nurse Executives as colleagues who serve as subject matter experts in every domain of professional practice and leadership,” Barry said. “The ability to reach out and easily collaborate is wonderful!”

VA’s Nurse Executives consult on the Nursing Executive Leadership Board and Field Advisory Committee, where they share information and contribute to decision making. VA Nurse Executives also have access to peers nationwide to ask consultation and practice questions, develop research and contribute to quality improvement.

“VA Nurse Executives participate on nurse-specific committees as well as interprofessional programs and task forces at the local and national level to develop innovative and progressive approaches that influence the practice and delivery of care, not just within VA, but potentially on a national level,” Barry said.

Shaping the quality of care

Nurse leadership is also nurtured among VA’s front-line nurses. Nursing personnel are encouraged to share their ideas and concerns, serve on national and local decision-making committees and become educated and trained nurse leaders in their own right.

Overall, this cooperative environment positively impacts the quality of healthcare and reliability of service at VA.

“Shared decision making, evidence-based practice, and the pursuit of advanced education and certification have a positive impact on nurse satisfaction, clinical outcomes for Veterans and Veteran satisfaction,” Barry said.

VA’s system also fosters the leadership skills and sense of duty prevalent among VA’s nursing and other healthcare professionals — thousands of whom are Veterans, in the reserves or come from families who served and all of whom view working at VA as a career with a mission to give back.

Choose VA today

Nurse Executives who work in the private sector are taking notice of the opportunities to lead at VA and the benefits of VA careers, Cooke said.

“We are finding that more and more of our team are coming from outside organizations to the VA because, for one, we offer superb benefits for nurses,” Cooke said. “But also, because the mission is so clear, and they get to care for family, those that represent their family and those that served.”

See if the choice of a career as a VA Nurse Executive/Associate Director is right for you.

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.

Breaking Borders for Traveling Nurses

Breaking Borders for Traveling Nurses

Lauren Bond, a traveling nurse, has held licenses in five states and Washington. She maintains a detailed spreadsheet to keep track of license fees, expiration dates, and the different courses each state requires.

The 27-year-old got into travel nursing because she wanted to work and live in other states before settling down. She said she wished more states accepted the multistate license, which minimizes the hassles nurses face when they want to practice across state lines.

“It would make things a lot easier — one license for the country and you are good to go,” said Bond, who recently started a job in California, which does not recognize the multistate license.

Nurse Licensure Compact

The license, known as the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), was launched in 2000 to address nursing shortages and enable more nurses to practice telehealth. Under the agreement, registered nurses licensed in a participating state can practice in other NLC states without needing a separate license. They must still abide by the laws that govern nursing wherever their patients are located.

About half of the states joined the original compact, which was modeled on the portability of a driver’s license. Some states that declined to sign on cited a major flaw: The agreement didn’t require nurses to undergo federal fingerprint criminal background checks.

Last month, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing launched a new version of the NLC that requires those checks. Twenty-nine states have passed legislation to join the new agreement.

Jim Puente, who oversees the compact for the council, said he expects even more states to sign the agreement now that criminal background checks are required. He noted that nine states have legislation pending to join.

Among states participating in the new nurse licensing compact are Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, Delaware, Idaho, and Arizona.

California does not plan to join the new compact, largely because of concern about maintaining state training and quality standards. The state, like many others, already requires nurses to undergo background checks. Washington, Oregon, and Nevada are among the other states that do not accept the multistate license.

Proponents of the nurse licensing agreement — both the old and new versions — argue that it helps fill jobs in places where there aren’t enough nurses and enables nurses to respond quickly to natural disasters across state lines.

“The nurse shortage tends to wax and wane regionally, so being able to move nurses where the needs are is really, really important,” said Marcia Faller, chief clinical officer at AMN Healthcare, a San Diego-based medical staffing company that employs Bond. The multistate license “really helps with that mobility … to deliver care to patients across state lines.”

Similar cross-state agreements exist for physicians, psychologists, emergency medical technicians, and physical therapists.

In some states, the multistate nursing license is helpful because it streamlines the process for nurses doing case management or telehealth, said Sandra Evans, executive director of the Idaho Board of Nursing. Getting nurses to work in the rural areas of Idaho is a challenge, and hospitals often rely on telemedicine in places where the closest healthcare facility might be in Montana, she said.

Before Idaho joined the original NLC in 2001, nurses doing telehealth or case management needed numerous licenses to work across state lines, but now they “can travel virtually — electronically or telephonically — to help their clients,” she said.

Joey Ridenour, executive director of the Arizona State Board of Nursing, said one of the biggest advantages of the compact for her state is that it allows authorities to share information and collaborate with other states to investigate and discipline problem nurses. “We are able to take action faster,” she said.

‘Competent and Qualified’

Opponents of the compact argue that states have different standards, course requirements, and guidelines and that nurses licensed in one state may lack the necessary knowledge or experience to practice in another one.

“The ability to control the standards of training and quality are of some concern to us,” said Linda McDonald, president of United Nurses and Allied Professionals union in Rhode Island, which participated in the original NLC but hasn’t signed on to the new one. “We want them trained in Rhode Island. We want them licensed in Rhode Island.”

Nurses in California have similar concerns. “We really want to make sure that nurses who are entering our state and taking care of our patients are competent and qualified,” said Catherine Kennedy, a Sacramento-area nurse who is secretary of the California Nurses Association. Some traveling nurses haven’t been, she added.

Kennedy said California does not have difficulty recruiting nurses, even without the compact, because of the state’s relatively high salaries and strict nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals.

Research has shown that California’s minimum nurse staffing requirements, which were the first in the nation, can reduce workloads and burnout, improve the quality of care and make it easier for hospitals to retain their nurses.

Massachusetts, which has never participated in the nurse licensing compact, requires nurses licensed there to take courses on treating victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, said Judith Pare, director of the division of nurses for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. If the state allowed out-of-state nurses to practice in Massachusetts without getting a license there, they wouldn’t necessarily have that training, she noted.

Bond, the traveling nurse, said additional courses don’t make her more qualified to do her job. “Across the board, wherever you go to nursing school, everybody comes out with a similar experience,” said Bond, who works at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. “Then most of the training you are going to do is on the job.”

Jenn Stormes works as a nurse and formally cares for her 18-year-old son, who has a severe seizure disorder and developmental disabilities. Stormes is licensed in Colorado, which participates in the multistate compact.

She has been able to use that license in some states. But she has also had to get several individual licenses so she can continue serving as her son’s nurse in other states where the family travels for medical care. Stormes estimated she has spent about $2,000 on licenses.

“It took me over a year to get all these licenses,” she said. “I had to prove to every state the same education, the same experience, the same fingerprints. I think it is a duplication of efforts and is a waste of everybody’s time and money.”

This story was originally posted on MedPage Today.

Simple Steps You Can Take to a Safer Practice

Simple Steps You Can Take to a Safer Practice

In my nearly 20 years of experience as a registered nurse, I’ve learned that simple steps make a significant difference. Fast-paced clinical settings make the procedures and protocols that all medical staff are familiar with incredibly important. Proactive steps, as simple as remembering to always wipe down all patient areas and keep them clear of unnecessary or unused supplies, have the ability to keep both patients and medical staff safer.

For nurses, patient safety is fundamental to what we do. It’s the first thing that we think about when we get up in the morning, and the last thing we think about before we go to bed. But no matter what your role in the organization, patient safety must be the priority.

This is especially true when caring for patients with chronic diseases, who are at an even higher risk given their weakened immune systems. At Lung Health Institute, we specialize in treating patients with chronic lung disease, such as COPD and emphysema, and we’re proud to have earned The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval® for ambulatory health care accreditation. Because we are continually evaluated, this recognition reflects our longstanding commitment to The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals focus on identifying patients correctly, using medicines safely, preventing infection and providing appropriate treatment.

Ensuring that vetted protocols and procedures are in place across your organization is the first step to providing the safest environment possible for your patients. Formal accreditation is a great way to ensure this exists, but you should also revisit and review your procedures regularly. Health care is dynamic, and these processes need to constantly evolve along with the industry.  

At any stage of the process in your organization, here are a few tips that nurses caring for patients with chronic disease should follow to ensure the safest environments:

  • Never stop learning: Best practices and industry standards are always changing, so you should strive to stay on top of the latest and greatest. I would recommend getting involved with local or national nursing organizations and attending any relevant conferences.
  • Lend a helping hand: With more young nurses in the field than ever before, experienced nurses need to lead by example, taking the extra time to demonstrate the right procedures and protocols can go a long way.
  • Open the doors of communication: Patients are often scared when in a health care setting and taking the time to ask them questions about not only how they’re feeling physically — but mentally — can ensure you’re adjusting treatment plans appropriately and collaborating with physicians in real time to problem solve. A safe environment for patients takes into account both their physical and mental health.
  • Slow down and think: It’s incredible how many errors can be prevented by taking the time to think, without rushing through your daily tasks.
  • Speak up: If you’ve observed standards and protocols and think something could be done differently, say so. Real life experiences help shape and create the best processes, and every operation is unique and should be tailored appropriately. Following a challenging situation, take the time to debrief with your peers — those more experienced and less experienced than you. Talk about what happened, and how you can work together to make it better or more efficient moving forward. Update procedures and protocols accordingly.
New Dual Admission Partnership Between UMSON and CCBC

New Dual Admission Partnership Between UMSON and CCBC

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) and the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) recently joined forces to offer a new dual admission BSN program. CCBC is the thirteenth school to create a dual-admission partnership agreement with the school.

Dual-admission partnerships are growing in popularity nationally, as more people are seeking out RN-to-BSN opportunities. These kinds of programs benefit not only the program participants, but the schools and healthcare employers as well. As the nursing shortage continues through the United States, hospitals and health organizations are constantly looking for ways to meet staffing needs.

This is one of several RN-to-BSN partnerships that CCBC has with various universities across Maryland, but the requirements at UMSON are different. “The UMSON partnership is unique, as the dual admission pathway provides flexibility and choice to CCBC students,” Linda Murray, DNP, CPNP-Ped, assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing, shared. “The UMSON CCBC partnership does not require students to take BSN courses while still in the ADN program, but affords them the flexibility to take courses if they wish.”

Additional requirements include admission into CCBC’s ADN program, and completion of the first semester of the nursing program at CCBC. But while CCBC has several campuses, this program opportunity is only available to students at the Catonsville and Essex locations.

Since fall 2016, UMSON has admitted 139 dual admission students. These dual admission programs allow students to balance their coursework and work and home responsibilities, giving students the option to continue working, instead of solely focusing on their academics.

Beyond saving time in this RN-to-BSN program, students will also save money. “UMSON is currently covering the cost of its BSN courses for students participating in the dual-admission partnership while they are still enrolled in the ADN program, an opportunity made possible with funds from a gift from Bill and Joanne Conway through their Bedford Falls Foundation,” Murray said. “Once the student graduates from their ADN program and matriculates into UMSON, they can apply for a full Conway Scholarship, which covers the costs of in-state tuition, fees, and books for the duration of the program.”

For more information about the UMSON-CCBC dual admission program, click here.

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