California woefully short on school nurses

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made a call to have a nurse employed by every school in the country, which would help to manage students’ chronic disease while also preventing obesity and absenteeism, among other benefits. And yet, schools in states such as California are “woefully” short of that requirement, Kaiser Health News reports. In the Golden State, about 57 percent of districts — representing 1.2 million students — do not employ nurses. The news site points out that the scarce shortage is caused by a lack of legal obligation for schools to deploy nurses, and negligent funding sources to do so. Advocates say that California and other states should add some teeth and make hiring nurses a requirement. “School nursing is one of the most effective ways to keep children healthy and in school and to prevent chronic absenteeism,” Breena Welch Holmes, lead author of policy statement, tells Kaiser.

What Washington is Doing

Meanwhile, the news site State of Reform has some details on what Washington state area folks are doing to address the nation’s wider nurse shortage, which some estimate could equal 200,000 by 2020. According to the website, those efforts include putting grant money toward increasing the number of nurses with BSN or higher degrees, and implementing a “diversity mentoring program” to help bolster the cultural competence and mix of types of people getting into nursing. Nurse advocates in the state also believe its essential to boost the amount of “supply data” they have on the nursing workforce to help better target interventions and address shortages. “There’s a huge potential for the Department of Health to start collecting this information,” Sofia Aragon, executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing, tells State of Reform. “What’s key is for us to be able to collect data and do studies.”

Texas nurse heroes save marathoner's life

Nurses Laura Rampley and Ron Samuel went to the Irving Half Marathon just to hand out some goodies and talk up their place of employment, Las Colinas Medical Center, but they ended up saving a man’s life. Michael Loftis, 22, collapsed near the finish line, and onlookers splashed water on him, assuming he had overheated. But the two RNs knew better, and leaped into action, starting chest compressions, shocking his heart with a defibrillator and alerting emergency services after finding he had no pulse, following a heart attack. EMS personnel took Loftis to a nearby hospital, where five days later, he received successful open-heart surgery. The runner plans to get married soon, too, according to a Las Colinas press release.

Rapid fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items from the past week or so, in rapid fashion:

  • Wednesday is apparently National Time Out day (I wasn’t aware that was a thing), and to celebrate, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses is encouraging every member of the OR team to ask each other “How can our time out be better?”
  • A new article in Critical Care Nurse explores how Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, part of UPMC, has developed a new interdisciplinary team in its pediatric ICU to help encourage caregivers to invite parents to the bedside while their child receives CPR.
  • Another new study explores how the level of noise experienced by nurses and patients alike in ICUs is well above recommended levels, and can greatly disturb those on both sides of the care equation.
  • In one that we missed last month, the American Organization of Nurse Executives released preliminary details from its latest compensation study. We’ll have all the particulars when the full report comes out in July.
  • And if you haven’t read enough about the nurse shortage, here’s one more piece on how it’s impacting the health care work force in Florida, where they've estimated the shortage to be 534 nurses.