Virginia Lawmaker Vies for More School Nurses 

A group of nurses and a legislator in Virginia are working to pass a bill that requires every school board in the state to employ at least one nurse per 550 students at every elementary, middle and high school, The Roanoke Times reports. Currently, the state has one school nurse for every 829.7 students, according to the Virginia Association of School Nurses. The health department in Farifax, Va., stated that “each year the number of students with a health condition increases” while the “nurse-to-student ratio worsens with the increasing number of students,” noting that the county has 65 nurses — and 200 aides — serving about 185,000 students at 196 schools. Approximately 27 percent of the students in Fairfax have an illness, and while school aides are trained to support students, they aren’t equipped to handle all of the complex issues that nurses can.

Harnessing Data to Halt Workplace Violence

Deploying a data-driven approach can help to reduce patient-on-employee violent incidents in hospitals, according to a new study, published this month in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Working in one Midwestern hospital system, researchers offered site-specific data to a random portion of 41 hospital units, which used the information to develop violence-prevention action plans. A control group, meanwhile got no such information. Six months into the effort, the rate of violent events was about 50 percent lower compared to those who did not receive data. Two years in, and that rate was 60 percent lower. Lead author Judith Arnetz said in a press release that she believes the approach “could be standardized and translated to hospital systems nationwide to improve worker health and safety.”

Another article, in the Chattanooga Free Press, notes that RNs are often the victims: Three out of every four say they’ve experienced physical or verbal abuse, and 30 percent say they’ve been physically assaulted. The Press notes that some of the most common reasons for such attacks are overcrowded EDs, long waits for treatment, and patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Common solutions, they add, include anticipating patients who may potentially become violence, and determining de-escalation strategies ahead of time.

Nurse Practitioner Turning Point

Nurse practitioners surpassed physicians in the number of house calls made, according to a study of 2013 Medicare data published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. As noted by the University of Virginia, which conducted the research, nurse practitioners provided more than 1.13 million such visits – mainly in nursing homes – compared with 1.08 million provided by internal medicine docs. The previous year, internal medicine doctors offered about the same number of visits, while nurse practitioners did just 925,000, which translates to growth of 17 percent from 2012 to 2013. The researchers said that states with tighter regulations of nurse practitioners should consider loosening them to help with the caregiver shortage. “If we want to improve geriatric care and reduce rural disparities, that’s where we should go,” said Nengliang “Aaron” Yao, one of the researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences.

Nurse Goes Into the Nit-removal Business

Most schools have a day during the year where your class files into the nurse’s office and everyone gets checked for lice. Amanda Bruns, R.N., at Fargo (N.D.) VA Medical Center has made the eradication of the nasty nits her full-time job when she started her in-home lice removal service appropriately named, The Nitty Nurse, according to inforum.com.  A year ago, her kids caught head lice while on a trip, which prompted her to start the business. Adding to that, the schools in Fargo and West Fargo School Districts have zero tolerance no-nit policies, which means students can’t return to class until they are egg free. She utilizes the Shepard Institute’s strand-by-strand lice removal method.

Rapid Fire

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

  • Before legislators scrap the Affordable Care Act, they must listen to the voices of nurses and other clinicians, Rebecca Kolins Givan, an associate professor in the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, writes in an opinion piece for STAT News.
  • To keep up with its rapid pace of growth, Geisinger Health System is hiring more than 150 nurses in clinical and office locations in the Pennsylvania cities of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, according to a press release.
  • Scrubsmag.com has a list of four nurse stereotypes that it believes to be true (i.e., “male nurses have it easier” or “psych nursing is a pretty cushy job”) to go with four stereotypes that it believes are false.
  • Colorado advocates are pushing a proposal that would strengthen background checks for new nurses and other health care professionals, bringing the Mountain State in line with others, the Denver Post reports.
  • And finally, one Elgin, Ill., nurse is working to help mothers cope with the loss of a child after birth at Advocate Sherman Hospital, under the title of “bereavement coordinator,” the Courier-News reports.