VA plans to expand scope of practice

One of the biggest pieces of nurse news in the past week was the Department of Veterans Affairs’ announcement of plans to expand scope of practice for advanced-practice registered nurses at its hospitals. The VA believes such a move will increase vets’ access to health care by bumping up the pool of practitioners to serve them, according to the announcement. The issue has long been one of contention in the health care world, with nurse practitioners pushing to be allowed to practice to the top of their licenses to help relieve staffing shortages, while docs argue that doing so would be a bad move for the field. Groups including the American Society of Anesthesiologists came out last week voicing their opposition to the “dangerous VA policy change.” Nurse groups, meanwhile, expressed support for the proposed new rule. “APRNs play a vital role in transforming health care systems to provide integrated care,” Maureen Swick, president of the American Organization of Nurse Executives said in a statement. “Expanding APRNs’ practice authority will further facilitate timely delivery of quality health care to our nation’s servicemen and women.”

Ohio to honor nurses with new plates

The Buckeye State just passed new legislation that paves the way for licenses plates honoring RNs to start popping up throughout Ohio. Emblazoned with the words “caring for Ohio” and “support nursing,” the new placards are expected to roll out onto cars in fall, with the proceeds earmarked to fund nursing scholarships and research grants from the Ohio Nurses Foundation. The Ohio Nurses Association CEO  said in a statement that she was thrilled to hear the news that the bill had passed.

Mayo nurse tumbles off cliff, survives

A Mayo Clinic nurse vacationing in Arizona managed to survive a 10-story fall from a cliff, Minnesota’s Post-Bulletin reports. Amber Kohnhorst, 25, of Rochester, never returned from a hiking trip in northwestern Arizona, prompting the owners of the bed and breakfast where she was staying to contact authorities. Following her fall, Kohnhorst apparently was knocked unconscious, suffering injuries to her head and back. After awakening, she managed to crawl 50 feet back up the cliff before the terrain got too tough. She blew her whistle and screamed for help for hours before an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter located her.

Secret ingredients to nurse retention

The Times Free Press, of Chattanooga, Tenn., ran a piece last week delving into how CHI Memorial, Chattanooga, has been able to greatly bolster its nurse retention rate. One key has been starting a nurse residency program that allows RNs in training to sample different positions in the profession, rather than just shoehorning trainees into one they may not like. The move has paid off, as CHI Memorial now has a 90 percent retention rate for the first year of its program, compared with a national average of 82 percent. Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga uses a similar approach with its residents and has also found success. "We really try to get them in the right fit," Jan Keys, chief nursing executive at Erlanger, told the newspaper.