The struggle to find adequate mental health care in the U.S. is challenging enough, but when you live in a rural town, it’s next to impossible. A recent Vice article by Syrena Clark details her challenge to find providers in rural Maine who are trained to treat her schizophrenia, including the fact that only 16 percent of nurses choose to work in rural areas, and people in rural areas are more likely to lack sufficient health insurance, according to the report. She tells Vice, “It’s easier to buy Klonopin from a dealer than it is from a psychiatrist.” Telehealth services show promise in some areas, but many rural areas lack access to high-speed internet. “Every time I’ve been hospitalized, it feels like a Band-Aid on a wound that needs stitches,” she said in the article.

$7 million for apprenticeships

The American Hospital Association has joined with the American Health Information Management Association Foundation, American Medical Informatics Association and National Center for Healthcare Leadership to form the Healthcare Workforce Consortium, which will receive $7.1 million from the Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration to support the growth of apprenticeship programs in the health care sector. “The AHA is honored to join the Healthcare Workforce Consortium to advance our mission of supporting the core strength of our hospitals and health systems,” said Maureen Swick, AHA senior vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer and American Organization of Nurse Executives CEO, in a news release. Read more on the consortium here.

Addressing ICU delirium

Recognizing the prevalence of “ICU delirium” in hospitals across the country, nurses and doctors are waging an ambitious campaign to try and change practices in the intensive care unit, STAT reports. As many as 80 percent of ICU patients suffer from such delirium during their hospital stay, which the article describes as a “sudden and intense confusion that can include hallucinations, delusions and paranoia.” The campaign includes measures such as reducing the use of sedatives and ventilators, along with getting patients on their feet faster. “This is a massive, massive public health problem,” Wes Ely, M.D., a pulmonologist and professor of medicine and critical care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tells STAT.

Predictive analytics to predict nurse staffing

Despite widespread nurse shortages across the country, 25 percent of nurse managers still use paper-based scheduling tools, and another 25 percent don't use any tools at all, a survey by AMN Healthcare shows. The survey, Predictive Analytics in Healthcare 2016: Optimizing Nurse Staffing in an Era of Workforce Shortages, found that by optimizing nursing staff around patient demand, predictions could help to address staffing issues, but many clinical managers are unaware of the technology. The survey also found that three quarters of nurse managers say they are very concerned about staff morale due to these problems, and nearly 70 percent say they are very concerned about the impact on patient satisfaction. More than half say they are very concerned about the effect on quality of patient care. To view and download the Predictive Analytics in Healthcare 2016 full survey, infographic and video, visit

Rapid Fire

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

  • Today at 12 p.m. Central Time, the American Hospital Association will host a webinar on engaging teams of nurses, physicians, administrators and more on their path toward achieving clinical transformation. 
  • has the details on what it says is the oldest working nurse in America — Florence "See See" Rigney, who first entered nursing school back in 1943, and has been practicing for 70 years.