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.
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.
The University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College have joined forces to provide a new bachelor of science in nursing degree, in order to help meet the four-year credential requirement that more and more health care employers are mandating.
The new degree program is designed for students to start their coursework at the University of Dayton in their first year. In the second and third years, students are dually enrolled at Dayton and Sinclair, balancing nursing courses and clinical rotations. At the end of the third year, students will complete their ASN from Sinclair, before moving on to year four at Dayton to complete their BSN. Additionally, after gaining their ASNs, students will be allowed to work as licensed registered nurses through the National Council Licensure Examination.
“The bachelor of science in nursing offers students an affordable pathway to a high-quality degree,” said UD School of Education and Health Sciences Dean Kevin Kelly. “The program draws on the strengths of both institutions, including UD’s Marianist tradition of educating the whole person and Sinclair’s long and excellent reputation in nursing education, and helps meet a critical workforce need in the Dayton community.”
As the nursing shortage continues, more degree program options like the one designed by the University of Dayton and Sinclair Community College are crucial. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is predicting a 15 percent job growth for registered nurses through at least 2026. With RNs needed in hospitals, extended care facilities, schools, and other organizations, it is critical to increase more education and certification options for those planning to become nurses.
“Employers in our region appreciate the caliber of the Sinclair nursing graduate, but also place value on registered nurses having a BSN degree,” said Rena Shuchat, Sinclair College Health Sciences dean. “Sinclair and UD have a long-standing partnership and this is another example of two great institutions partnering to provide our region with high-quality nurses with an advanced degree.”
This program is especially helpful for those wanting to pursue a BSN but concerned about costs. Sinclair tuition costs are locked in for years 2 and 3 of the program, and students are locked into a transparent net-tuition plan through the University of Dayton for years 1 and 4. Beyond the financial benefits, students will be able to seek academic help from faculty at both schools. These BSN candidates will also be working alongside UD and Sinclair students in other health science degree programs, providing them with a well-rounded education that will assist them as they begin their RN careers.
For more information on this new degree program, visit the University of Dayton’s website.
The College of Nursing at South Dakota State University is now offering a postgraduate certificate program in psychiatric mental health. The certificate program, which was approved earlier in February, will begin courses in Fall 2019.
“We know family nurse practitioners assess for mental-health needs across the life span but are limited in treating the needs without the specialized certification,” Mary Minton, associate dean of graduate nursing for SDSU’s College of Nursing, told the SDSU Collegian. “The proposed certificate prepares graduates to provide much needed high-quality mental-health care in a variety of settings in rural and urban South Dakota. It increases much-needed access to psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in our state where a serious shortage currently exists.”
The certificate was created to help with the shortage of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in South Dakota. A publication from the South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce reports that while the state has over 1,100 certified nurse practitioners, only 3.3 percent of them are working in psychiatric mental health.
“This certificate will enhance the scope of practice for the nurse practitioner to provide more holistic health care,” Kay Foland, an SDSU College of Nursing professor, shared with the SDSU Collegian. “Persons needing health care more than likely to have a number of health concerns, including emotional and mental health issues. Completing the psychiatric mental health certificate will better prepare the family nurse practitioner to provide a more comprehensive, competent and evidenced-based practice level of care.”
There is a great need for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, in addition to more healthcare workers as the U.S. continues to suffer a nursing shortage. SDSU approved this certificate program to help address the shortage, so more nurse practitioners can work in outpatient clinics, primary-care units, private practices, community health and community mental health centers, and hospitals. They may also provide services in substance abuse programs, high-risk pregnancy centers, schools, prisons and trauma centers.
The certificate program is a part-time, 18-credit online program designed for advanced practice registered nurses, and family nurse practitioners, to complete in four semesters. For more information on the program, visit www.sdstate.edu/nursing/graduate-nursing/.
Technical schools have been lobbying Florida state legislators so more students can become registered nurses. As a result, Florida House Bill 381 is under review with the Florida House of Representative’s Higher Education and Career Readiness Subcommittee. Language from the bill states that it would “…[authorize] school district career centers to conduct certain associate degree nursing programs.”
Manatee Technical College is leading the charge on this movement with support from Florida Association for Career and Technical Education. Currently, MTC offers a licensed practical nursing program, but technical schools cannot offer RN programs. If passed, the new legislation will allow Florida technical schools and centers to provide transition programs, where students who complete the licensed program can continue their education. This path could create more opportunities for students to take the state exam and become registered nurses.
“We’re not trying to compete with the state college,” MTC spokeswoman Maura Howl shared with YourObserver.com. “We’re trying to offer our graduates an opportunity they currently don’t have. It’s all about career pathways — to give students stepping stones to progress.”
Florida anticipates that there will be nearly 114,000 openings for registered nurses from 2017 through 2023. The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity lists nearly 3900 of those openings within Manatee and Sarasota counties alone.
Keeping Up Nurse Recruitment Efforts
With Florida feeling the nursing shortage, healthcare employers, like Tidewell Hospice, are grateful for more opportunities for nursing students to become registered nurses. Presently, Tidewell has 17 open positions for registered nurses and seven open positions for licensed practical nurses. Cindy Coffman, Vice President of Human Resources at Tidewell, said some roles were posted over four months and have not received any applications.
“None of us can fill the job openings,” Coffman told YourObserver.com. “The applicant volume isn’t there. We’re really feeling it at this point.”
Tidewell has taken several steps to fill its nursing roles, including social media campaigns, hiring a nurse recruiter, and increasing bonuses. Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, another Manatee-Sarasota healthcare provider, has also been using new strategies to keep their nursing positions filled. LRMC Chief Nursing Officer Judy Young explained how the organization offers clinical rotations to local nursing schools, as well as a 12-week residency program.
“We’ve taken these creative steps to really embrace existing and potential new RNs coming into our program,” Lakewood Ranch Medical Center’s Director of Marketing Lisa Kirkland told YourObserver.com. “We’re trying to stay one step ahead of the nursing shortage issue.”
As of January 30, the bill is under review with several education subcommittees. If approved, it will go into effect on July 1.
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Luis considered going to work at a private-sector hospital following military service. But he chose a career as a nurse at VA, in part after benefiting from the care and comradery of VA.
“Being a Vet myself, I would like to influence how other Veterans are taken care of and the overall environment,” Luis says in a video. “I felt more comfortable here, so I think I can contribute more here.”
Luis’s story is a reminder that many Veterans choose VA healthcare careers for the chance to work with and care for others who have served and use their military skills in a civilian job.
“While in the service, I was a hospital corpsman,” he said. “My service, I feel, just carried on from there.”
Choose VA to advance in nursing
Veterans like Luis have flourishing nursing careers at VA, by applying skills learned in the military and by taking advantage of the many opportunities for continuing education and professional development.
VA is the nation’s largest employer of nurses, with programs in student employment, residency and orientation and nursing education scholarship programs such as the National Nursing Education Initiative (NNEI).
“Whether nurses are LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) or RNs (registered nurses), they can move up,” said Marlene Brewster, associate director for Nursing and Patient Care Services at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in another video.
NNEI supports nurses like Luis with obtaining baccalaureate and advanced nursing degrees such as bachelor’s, master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice from an accredited education program.
Luis is getting his bachelor’s degree through the initiative. After graduation, he plans to study for a master’s degree, he said.
Choose VA today
“There’s a lot more benefits here than you might see on first glance,” he said.
Luis chose a VA nursing career to care for other Veterans and to learn and grow on the job.
This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.