Before we get into it, H&HN's latest Q&A, with health care economist and professor of nursing Peter Buerhaus, R.N., on the four forces that will reshape nursing, has generated loads of interest in the past week. Already since Thursday, it's been one of our most-clicked items of 2016. Give it a read if you haven't already. 

Nurses Fight to Modernize Hospital ICUs

Hospital intensive care units are behind the times, and a group of docs and nurses from cities such as Baltimore, Boston and San Francisco are aiming to pull them into the future, STAT News reports. Peter Pronovost, M.D., a critical care physician at Johns Hopkins, for one, is working to create what he calls a "smart ICU" and revolutionize this critical part of the hospital, similar to "what Steve Jobs did for the iPhone." One way, he says, is by making all the various devices communicate with each other, so that nurses no longer have to deal with the "alarms race" of tech gadgets trying to one up each other. An RN answers a false alarm about once every 90 seconds, STAT notes. 

What Nurses Are Really Thinking

Interested in a peek into the occasionally dark humor shared by nurses across the country? If so, check out the Nurses of Instagram account, which is run by Courtney Thibeault, a nurse in Fall River, Mass, according to the Boston Herald. The account is not all dark and it’s not all humor, but a typical meme on the site would be one that pictures a Jersey Shore cast member fervently exclaiming: “If you call the ER for wait times … it’s not an emergency!” With 152,000 followers, the account must be ringing true with somebody. Thibeault told the newspaper: “It’s a place for the nurse community to laugh with each other over the daily struggle we deal with.”

Rudeness Toward Overweight RNs

It's an unpleasant question that almost any RN has likely had to confront: Does the weight of nurses, docs and other clinicians matter in the mind of the patient? A poster on the social media site brings up the topic, after hearing a "disturbing" conversation between nurses, who argued that overweight individuals shouldn't be able to practice medicine because patients would not respect their health advice. One commenter on the forum, which has gathered nearly 250 responses and 65,000 page views as of Monday, notes that such concerns are meaningless, and nurses are people like anyone else, who must contend with long shifts and short breaks, where junk food may be the only option. "Many of us have spent years running on empty and our bodies reflect it. I am very fortunate to have a job now where I can take care of my own needs, too. That wasn't always the case," the commenter writes. 

Rapid Fire:

Here are a few more nurse-related items that caught our eye recently, in rapid fashion: 

  • Hospital art programs can also benefit nurses and other clinical hospital staff, according to HuffingtonPost
  • A retired nurse has filed a formal complaint against the public health system in Pascagoula, Miss., concerned that fellow RN's salaries are not competitive in the market, while the CEO's salary is the opposite, the Sun Herald reports
  • A former nurse at Lee Memorial Hospital System was arrested earlier this month and charged with a whopping 131 felonies, including dozens of forgeries to obtain drugs, reports
  • Finally the Emergency Nurses Association is hosting its annual meeting this week in LA, and as part of the get-together, the group is hosting a large-scale mass-casualty incident to help better prepare RNs for disasters.