Here’s some news in the nursing space this past week that caught our eyes. Watch for more Nurse Watch every Wednesday in H&HN Daily.

Progress made on expanding scope for advanced nurses

Slowly, but surely, advanced practice nurses are gaining ground in efforts to work to the top of their licenses across the country.

A recent review of state laws and regulations found that since 2010, eight states have granted clinical nurse specialists the ability to practice without a doctor’s supervision. An additional six states also have granted such nurses the authority to prescribe drugs and durable equipment, according to the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

Those state gains spell a 32 percent uptick in the number of nurse specialists who are practicing to their full capability, with a total of 28 now allowing such nurses to use the full extent of their education and training, according to the association.

Peggy Barksdale, R.N., president and CEO of the NACNS, is excited to see such progress for clinical nurse specialists, which the group defines as “advanced-practice registered nurses who hold leadership roles in health care settings.” With scores of newly insured patients entering the health care system because of the Affordable Care Act, hospitals need all the help they can get.

“This is an important and exciting trend in state health care policy,” she said in a press release. “More than ever, we need to ensure that every health care provider, including the highly skilled CNS, is able to perform to the top of his or her skills, education and expertise."

Schools partner to boost nurse know-how

Partnership seems to be the name of the game in today’s health care world, with any combination of payers, providers and hospitals joining up to improve care. Now, in the Pacific Northwest, two competing schools are partnering to bolster education for nurses.

In Oregon, only about 43 percent of the state’s nearly 40,000 RNs have a bachelor of science in nursing degree, the Statesman Journal reports. And yet, studies have shown that higher levels of education for nurses can lead to higher quality care, the publication notes.

To address that gap, Chemeketa Community College and Linfield College have partnered to create a pilot program allowing nurses to continue their education with courses combining online and face-to-face instruction. The two schools had collaborated in other areas previously, and had complementary needs, with Linfield offering an RN-BSN program, and Chemeketa supplying the new nursing students working on their associate’s degrees.

Already, they’re seeing the fledgling nurses gain confidence and satisfaction in their roles, the publication reports. "It can be very transformational," Melissa Jones, associate professor of nursing at Linfield, told the Statesman Journal.

Trauma nurse’s love on Facebook goes viral

Typically, I'll stick to news from the past week for the Wednesday Nurse Watch blog, but this one got lost in the holiday shuffle and is worth a mention.

Awestruck by the beauty of his trauma nurse wife Rayena napping with their son after a long shift, Alabama resident Bobby Wesson wrote a heartfelt post on Facebook, capturing the moment. A few weeks later, the Internet exploded over the posting, garnering almost 850,000 likes and approaching 200,000 shares on the social media site, along with worldwide press.

It’s enough to make even this frosty journalist get a little misty-eyed.

“This is my wife taking a nap. In an hour she will wake up, put on her scrubs and get ready for work,” Wesson starts. “She will kiss the baby, she will kiss me, and she will leave to go take care of people who are having the worst day of their entire lives,” he continues later in the post. “Car wrecks, gunshot wounds, explosions, burns and breaks — professionals, the poor, pastors, addicts and prostitutes — mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and families — it doesn’t matter who you are or what happened to you. She will take care of you.”

Responses have been largely positive, Buzzfeed reports, although some women may have been a little too forthcoming in private messages to Bobby. The Wessons posted this goofy (scary?) video in response.

No shortage of ‘hero’ nurses

Bobby Wesson closes his original Facebook post by calling his nurse wife a “hero,” and, of course, she’s not the only one in the profession who’s earned that label.

Just recently, Nurse Jane McCurdy, along with Iowa state trooper Tracy Bohlen, were honored at the last Iowa Hawkeyes' football game of the season for their life-saving efforts in April. The trooper leapt into action when he found a truck stopped in the middle of a 70-mph interstate, after an Oklahoma man suffered a stroke while driving with his 15-year-old son, according to Iowa Local 5 News.

Trooper Bohlen pulled the man out of the truck and successfully administered CPR, while the man's son Eli pressed his foot on the car brake to keep the vehicle from veering off. Not far behind, Nurse McCurdy, en route to a grocery store on her day off, pulled over to help divert traffic and console the boy. She also took the teen to the hospital and helped him to obtain a hotel room while waiting for his mom to arrive, Local 5 reports.

"I laughed with him and cried with him; they’re truly a great family," McCurdy told the news team. "Eli is truly the hero. He’s the one who got the truck stopped and prevented what could’ve been a tragic accident going into the mix-master.”

We’re always looking for heroic nurses or other clinicians who have gone above and beyond what’s required of them at a hospital. If you have someone you’d like to nominate for our Extra Mile feature — or other tidbits you’d like to see in Nurse Watch — drop me a message at mstempniak@healthforum.com