Texting is everywhere, except hospitals. A recent Medscape commentary argued in favor of letting physicians and nurses use order texting in health care settings. The piece cites a stat that, for the first time in the history of communication, text volume has& surpassed verbal communication. Among the concerns presented by the Joint Commission in December 2016 when it reinstated its ban on text ordering is the inability to retain text info and place text orders into medical records. But, how often are verbal conversations placed into the record, asks the author, Melissa Walton-Shirley, M.D., who points out that it's not difficult to retrieve deleted messages. HIPPA violations are a concern, Walton-Shirley acknowledges, but they're minimized by the ability to quickly communicate with a patient in a text. She notes that physicians often talk openly about cases in hospital hallways, but nobody gets upset. Bottom line, Walton-Shirley writes, “patients have always benefited from timely communication and they always will. We should be encouraged to text order whenever it makes sense.”

Retirement Schmirement

“I want to keep working. It’s the love of my life, other than my husband, who was a great guy.” So says Kathryn Hodges in a profile by Jay Levin of The Bergan (N.J.) Record. Keep on working Hodges has. She finished nursing school three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor; at 97, she’s New Jersey’s oldest licensed registered nurse. Since 1967, she’s been a part-time public health nurse in Emerson, N.J., conducting health screenings, education and prevention. Her motivation: “You have to have a love of people and a real desire to keep them well, so they be active citizens and do their own thing.” As for retirement plans: “I want to leave this earth with my boots on,” says Hodges, who, Levin reports, walks unaided, drives a 25-year-old Buick Roadmaster and, by all accounts, is “just amazing.”

The Pressure Builds

More patients, more serious illnesses and more technology add up to a whole lot of pressure on today’s nurses, says David Freudberg, host of public radio’s Humankind series and producer of the network’s documentary series called Resilient Nurses. Most nurses want to make a personal connection with the patient, Freudberg told All Things Considered host Lisa Mullens, but “when you’re having to mostly focus on machinery and technical measurements and special procedures, that becomes an obstacle to direct care of the patient. And it’s a stressor.” Freudberg said certain service lines, such as cancer care, are becoming particularly difficult on nurses, and are likely to become more so as aging baby boomers flood the health care system, often with high acuity ailments, and as the shortage of oncologists worsens.

Rapid Fire

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

  • Nurses are more willing to report any safety incidents if they’re working in a supportive environment, according to a new study out of Taiwan, published in Clinical Nursing Research.  
  • An Oregon nurse who’s in need of a kidney transplant is trying a billboard campaign to see if it catches anyone’s attention, the Associated Press reports.
  • Nurse practitioners in Texas are pushing for more independence from doctors to treat and write prescriptions for patients and fill access needs across the Lone Star state, the Standard-Times reports