Nurse Develops Apps to Help Voiceless Patients

A nurse-designed mobile device app aims to speed and improve the quality of communications between patients who cannot speak and their hospital caregivers. Rebecca Koszalinski, R.N., developed “Speak for Myself” to allow for more advanced hospital room conversations than could take place using traditional tools, according to WBIR.com. Instead of having a few limited choices for terms and responses, the Android app has a modifiable selection of phrases and responses that can be preloaded into the conversation options. As apps go, the close to $80 price tag is costly, but that might be a bargain relative to the benefits of engaged patients and caregivers.

 More RN-Fueled Innovation

Another nurse with the entrepreneurial bug is Suzie Welsh, R.N., who created a service called BINTO to assist couples with getting pregnant, according to Technically Philly. BINTO, which stands for bun in the oven, follows the model of other services that charge for a monthly package of goods. After filling out a survey, a customized lineup of products are delivered at home, a package that might include prenatal vitamins, organic feminine care products and pregnancy test kits. The former Penn Medicine nurse might want to follow up with a product called BOOTO — bun out of the oven — to assist with those months after the baby is born. Products could include such things for parents as energy drinks, sleeping pills and stress balls.

AONE Names New President-elect, Board of Directors

The top nurse leadership group in the country last week named its newest slate of governance leaders. Bob Dent, R.N., chief nursing and operating officer of Midland (Texas) Memorial Hospital, will serve as 2017 president-elect of the American Organization of Nurse Executives and will chair the AONE board in 2018. Dent has more than 25 years of experience in the field and is a former chairman of the Texas Organization of Nurse Executives. Three others will start their three-year terms on Jan. 1, 2017, as members of the board of AONE, which is a subsidiary of the American Hospital Association:

  • Erik Martin, R.N., executive clinical director of the heart and vascular service line at Christ Hospital Health Network, Cincinnati
  • Cole Edmonson, R.N., chief nursing officer of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas
  • And Dana Bjarnason, R.N., vice president and chief nursing officer, and the associate dean for clinical affairs, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland.

How Utah’s Nurse Shortage is Impacting Students

There’s a severe shortage of school nurses in the Beehive State — at just one nurse for every 4,300 students, it's among the worst in the nation — and it’s putting a strain on both parents and volunteers, Deseret News Utah reports. A swelling school population, along with increasing rates of chronic disease, is making the problem even worse. Some schools are being forced to “deputize” teachers, secretaries and other volunteers to help kids with medical concerns. But officials in the state say that’s no permanent solution. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommended earlier this year that school districts across the nation deploy at least one full-time nurse in every school, but some Utah nurses are serving 15 or more schools. Funding, rather than recruiting, is the primary issue that’s exacerbating this problem, and school leaders are seeking out ways to close the gap. Some $91.1 is needed to hire a nurse for every Utah school, Deseret News reports.

Rapid Fire

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

  • There is wide variation in the levels of staffing and services of palliative programs in hospitals, Kaiser Health News reports.
  • Telehealth programs, deploying nurses creatively in remote parts of Georgia, are showing some promise in addressing disparities, according to mHealthIntelligence.com.
  • Finally, in an opinion piece for STAT News, Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at New York Institute of Technology, makes the case for why nurses and other medical students must master the medicine of empathy.