Are nurseries on a path toward extinction?

Nurseries have long been a staple at hospitals, but some are starting to phase out the signature room with its big picture windows and row upon row of dosing newborns.

The Boston Globe reports that many are rethinking the conventional nursery, as hospitals shift their emphasis toward fostering breastfeeding, bonding and parenting skills. Instead, they’re keeping newborns in the room with moms 24/7, supervised by the care of a nurse. Boston Medical Center, in particular, has been using the “rooming in” practices for years and others, like Massachusetts General and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, are following suit, all representing more than 11,000 deliveries a year.

The idea is backed by both research and the World Health Organization, whose Baby-friendly Hospital Initiative urges rooming in to help encourage breastfeeding. Some mothers have appreciated the practice, with one mother telling the newspaper that it’s made the transition to home much easier. Others, however, are strongly against it, and the change in practice has sparked debates on Boston area message boards.

“Mothers need to recover from the trauma of delivery, and if they can’t do it at the hospital, where is that supposed to happen?’’ mom Katie Holt, 36, tells the publication.

 

Three possible approaches to fostering cultural competency

Hospitals can’t just provide boilerplate care to every patient, when those visiting speak all sorts of different languages and carry an array of cultural preferences regarding their health care. That’s why it’s increasingly important that health care field train nurses and other care providers to become proficient in the art of cultural competency.

Some 40 percent of the U.S. population are either immigrant or first-generation Americans, notes Minority Nurse Magazine, and minorities actually outnumber Caucasians in some parts of the country. The publication offers hospitals three routes that they can take to bolster the cultural competency of their nursing staff, be it through adapting existing training programs, hiring a consultant to build a new program, creating one on your own or a combination of the three.

Whatever route your hospital chooses, inaction isn’t an option.

“We have to look at ourselves because we have biases,” Cora Muñoz, R.N., professor of nursing at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, tells the publication. “Sometimes we aren’t even aware of them, but they impact the way we provide care.”

 

Educating nurse staff about the Zika virus

As the Zika virus continues to spread through the Americas, one player in the health education field wants to give nurses a big assist in the fight.

Online educator CEUfast.com just began offering RNs a free two-hour course on the infection, which is transmitted primarily through mosquitoes and can cause birth defects and neurological disorders if contracted by pregnant mothers. Zika has already caused some 35 travel-related cases, plus one sexually, and the World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency. CEUfast says it wants to dispel any misinformation as cases continue to pop up.

"We want to cut through the hype, focus on the facts and give nurses and other health professionals updated information about the virus, its diagnosis and its treatment," Julia Tortorice, R.N., nurse planner and founder of the website, said in a press release. "We want health care providers, especially nurses, to be prepared. They are often a part of the first line of defense."

There’s certainly no shortage of Zika info on the Internet. The Food and Drug Administration just yesterday issued recommendations on reducing the risk of virus transmission through blood, and the CDC has a wealth of educational materials on the topic. You can also check out H&HN’s previous coverage on Zika.