Nurses are often willing to walk the extra mile to care for their patients, but one Pennsylvania RN went even further, adopting the 8-year-old son of a dying patient. The story dates back to March 2014, when oncology nurse Tricia Seaman, 43, began caring for Tricia Somers, 45 at the time, who was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer, Inside Edition reports. After discovering the cancer was terminal, Somers, a single mother with no support system, asked Nurse Seaman to take in her boy. The nurse already had a family of six and, coincidentally, was considering growing it further. Long story short, Seaman took in Wesley, and two years after his mother’s death, he’s become an integral part of the family, Inside Edition reports. "He blends right in," said Seaman. "I cannot imagine life without him."

New Mexican Nurse Hotline in Danger of Closure

For the people of New Mexico, NurseAdvice, a free 24-7 call center staffed with nurses, is a lifeline, especially for the uninsured and those on Medicaid. But the organization, in operation since 2006, is facing closure because of declining revenue, the Sante Fe New Mexican reports. A shutdown would be a big blow to the state, not just the people who call the center. A University of New Mexico economist estimates NurseAdvice saves the state’s health care system $5 million a year. Managed care companies have switched to cheaper services, often based out-of-state, but one woman ran into a problem when she called a nurse line in Canada about a skin reaction to green chile. The nurse had never heard of the popular New Mexican food and couldn’t help the caller. “We’re a great resource for the state, and it would be sad to see that go,” said Stephanie Quintana, who has been with NurseAdvice for three years. State Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque introduced a measure to help address funding, but was met with strong opposition. A similar bill will fail unless the state’s governor gets behind it, the New Mexican reports. 

Nurse Home Visits to Save Babies’ Lives in Ohio

MetroHealth System is scoring a big assist in its fight to curb infant mortality, in the form of a $560,000 grant from the state of Ohio. The Cleveland-based public hospital system plans to utilize those dollars for its nurse home visit program, which sends RNs to help moms monitor and address health issues, improve their parenting skills and share information about early child development, the Plain Dealer reports. Cleveland’s infant mortality rate is about 13 deaths per 1,000 live births, twice the national average, and trends even higher in some neighborhoods. The “Nurse-Family Partnership” model, around since the 1970s, has a proven track record; participating women demonstrate improved prenatal health, fewer subsequent pregnancies and longer intervals between pregnancies, the Plain Dealer says.

Celebrating NPs

It is National Nurse Practitioner Week through Saturday, which is a good time to take stock of the clinicians who are expected to play a growing role in health care. Among the more than 222,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the U.S., half hold hospital privileges, 83 percent are certified in an area of primary care and 55 percent are certified in family primary care, according to a resource guide published by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Forty-five percent of neonatal NP and 27 percent of acute care NPs work in hospital inpatient care. The average age of a nurse practitioner is 49 years and the mean full-time base salary in 2016 was $102,000.

Rapid Fire

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

  • Hospital readmission rates for black patients are about 30 percent higher than for white patients following hip/knee replacement surgery, according to a new study out of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research.
  • Amie Kuntz, a 34-year-old nurse from Sandwich, Ill., and a recovering opioid abuser, warns that such addiction can happen to anyone in the field, the Aurora Beacon-News reports.
  • Nearly every physician and nurse candidate in last week’s election lost his or her race, MedPage Today reports.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for a change of scenery, officials with Maui County’s three public hospitals are seeking $5.65 million from Hawaiian state legislators to help bolster the hiring of nurses and other staffers, the Maui News reports