This election season has brought out passionate supporters from both sides, and Southampton Hospital’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation gym has taken measures to ensure those passions don’t interfere with good health. According to an article in the East Hampton Star, the rehab center has put up bright-pink signs prohibiting political discussions, which read in all caps: “DUE TO THE FACT THAT WE HAVE PATIENTS WITH HEART CONDITIONS WE CAN NOT ALLOW POLITICAL DEBATES IN THE GYM.” The rehab center monitors people who have undergone heart surgeries or have been diagnosed with heart disease. As patients walk on the treadmill or lift weights, the TVs are often tuned to politically focused shows. Jessica Swiatocha, manager of the cardiopulmonary rehab center, says the signs have been up for nearly a month, and there have been no incidents since. Patients have even thanked her for the signs, saying they were “so stressed out” before.

Nurse Salaries, Bonuses Surge as Shortage Heats Up 

Nurses are now seeing surges in employment opportunities and incentives after a years-long plateau, the Wall Street Journal reports. This is because nurses are currently leaving the workforce more quickly than they are entering it — since the improved economy is enabling older nurses to retire in greater numbers — which has created more job openings and made nurses’ services more in-demand. At the same time, expanded insurance coverage means that hospitals are grappling with more patients and thus need more nurses to take care of them. According to the Wall Street Journal, certain regions are hit harder than others. For example, the need for hospital care in Iowa has surpassed the amount of available nurses, and Texas hospitals can’t hire fast enough to keep up with their growing populations. As a result, sign-on bonuses are becoming more common and nurse salaries are escalating throughout the country.

Autonomy is an RN’s Best Friend

Leaving nurses alone to do their work might be the best method of bolstering quality, according to a new study, published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship. Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania found that greater nurse autonomy was associated with significantly lower risk of death or complications within 30 days of discharge and failure to rescue. Penn experts determined so based on survey responses from nearly 21,000 across 570 hospitals. “Hospitals can actively take steps to encourage nurse autonomy to positively influence patient outcomes,” the study concludes.

Rapid Fire

Here are a few more nurse-related items of note, in rapid fashion:

  • In other election-related news, the majority of nurses have no confidence in either political candidate’s ability to improve health care, according to a survey of 200 RNs by research firm InCrowd.
  • Burnout of nurses and other clinicians has reached “epidemic” proportions, and hospital executives must view addressing it as a strategic priority, according to a new report out of communication company Vocera.
  • It seems as if every week is designated to recognize something or other in health care, and these seven days are no exception. Monday marked the start of “Forensic Nurses Week,” running through Friday, which is a chance to celebrate those who provide care to victims of violence and abuse, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses.
  • And finally, average salaries for RNs dipped slightly from 2014 to 2015, according to a new salary survey from Medscape.