Criminal nurses slip through cracks in some states

Colorado is apparently in select company; it’s one of only six states in the U.S. that does not require criminal background checks for its nurses, according to the Denver Post. As such, RNs with previous convictions for sexual offenses, stealing drugs and violence have evaded detection to obtain jobs in the state’s health care system. Colorado this year has started requiring surgical techs and assistants to submit their fingerprints, but not nurses — who have access to narcotics and more contact with patients, the newspaper points out. Some, such as the Colorado Nurses Association, however, are pushing for the state to begin incorporating criminal background checks as part of its practice act for nursing.

Missouri health system goes global to relieve nurse shortage

The nation’s nurse shortage is growing so dire for some hospitals that they’re reaching thousands of miles away to try to find RNs. The Springfield News-Leader reports that CoxHealth system recently announced plans to hire about 100 nurses from overseas, mostly from the Philippines, in the next year. Leaders from the Missouri-based nonprofit say that the applicants will be carefully screened just like regular nurses, and they have no plans to cease recruiting caregivers locally, as well. Other hospitals have been seeking out international nurses in such a fashion for years, according to the newspaper. “A nursing shortage is facing the United States, and we at CoxHealth believe we must try new solutions to fill the gap,” Karen Kramer, CoxHealth’s chief nursing officer, said in a press release. “We always want to supply the health care that our community needs, and feel that bringing nurses to us is a good way of doing that.”

Nurse group urges action to curb violence

In the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre early this month, groups representing docs and nurses alike are urging for regulatory action to help curb gun violence across the country. The American Nurses Association, for one, sent out a declaration this past weekend, pushing for what it says are more “sensible gun control measures,” including lifting a ban on studies on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Now is the time to enact meaningful gun control legislation at the state and federal level to protect society," ANA President Pamela  Cipriano, R.N, said in a statement.  "We all must join with other members of our community and at every level of civil society in dialogue and action to address the underlying issues that result in hate and motivate unspeakable acts of violence." The American Medical Association similarly sent out statements earlier this month, declaring gun violence a “public health crisis” and expanding its policies on background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases.

Rapid fire

Here are a few more nursing-related items that caught our eye over the past week:

  • Nurses at one Illinois hospital are unhappy following a “boot camp” conducted to help improve patient satisfaction scores, reports.
  • Millions of vacation days are going unused across the country, and nurses and hospital CEOs alike need to start taking time off to help keep their workforce healthy, both mentally and physical, according to the Advisory Board Company.
  • Is it harder to become a nurse than a doctor? Author and film producer Juliana Adams ponders this question in a post for
  • Politico also ran an interesting deep dive last week on scope of practice and how modifying it could help to expand patients’ access to care.