Nurse practitioners and physician assistants were recently given the go-ahead by Health & Human Services to immediately begin training to prescribe the opioid treatment buprenorphine. After 24 hours of training, NPs and PAs in 2017 can start prescribing the medication-assisted treatment to up to 30 patients a year. Under the watchful eye of HHS’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the allowance may be expanded to 100 patients with a waiver that is in the works, according to an HHS news release. Information on the training and waiver application can be found here.

Born to Be Wild

Outside magazine does its thing glamorizing the life of adventure-seekers, this time with the focus on travel nurses. Though the article does make it sound almost as if travel nurses are getting paid to ski, climb mountains and ride river rafts, with the actual job an afterthought, it could be an attractive lifestyle, particularly for those of a certain age. The 26- to 32-year-old nurses quoted in the article — apparently middle-aged, risk-loving travel nurses are hard to find — thrive in the outdoors and insist that nursing is important to them as well. Alex White tells the magazine that “having a long history of outdoor dare-deviling has made him better at his job: ‘In both environments, you have to be a problem solver, not a problem causer.’ ”

9 Things NICU Nurses Want Parents to Know

Are there things you may have wanted to know from nurses before giving birth to a child who required intensive care? Huffington Post (in partnership with the March of Dimes) posed that very question to a handful neonatal intensive care unit RNs and last week shared some of the best answers. The nurses advised parents, among other things: “don’t nod and pretend to understand,” don’t fail to “take care of yourself” as a parent, and do “get to know other parents” whose babies are also in the NICU. “Looking beyond the wires and tubes” is also key, says Rosanna M., who has spent more than 20 years as a neonatal nurse. “A NICU is a scary place, but it also a place of great hope, miracles and love. Focus on that when things seem overwhelming.”

Richer Nurse Skill Mix Bolsters Patient Safety: Study

Deploying a hospital staff with a greater proportion of professional nurses can spell improvements in both patient safety and satisfaction, according to a new study, published in the BMJ. Utilizing survey data from more than 13,000 nurses across 243 European hospitals, researchers found that higher reliance on nursing associates and assistive nursing personnel — in other words non-RNs — may have contributed to an increased number of preventable deaths and may also have reduced quality scores. BMJ researchers note that on average hospitals had about six caregivers (four of whom were professional nurses) for every 25 patients. Replacing one of those RNs with a nurse assistant for every 25 patients was associated with a 21 percent increased risk of the patient dying, according to the study.

Rapid Fire

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

  • When nurses don’t feel safe at their workplace, patient safety can suffer, according to a new Press Ganey white paper.
  • The Tampa Bay Times tells the story of 32-year-old Angel Santiago, a used-car salesman who was shot during the Pulse nightclub massacre, survived and now aspires to be a nurse following his hospital stay.
  • The PEW Charitable Trusts’ Stateline blog recently explored why it can take so long to hire a nurse.
  • And finally, analysts the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recently took a closer look whether nurses spend too much time with technology and not enough time with patients.