As hospitals continue to partner with community organizations to address some of the social determinants of health, establishing those personal relationships becomes more important. Kim Gray, a Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences graduate turned instructor, specializes in introducing senior students to community health outreach programs such as soup kitchens, hospice and  home care and to ride-alongs with the Quincy, Ill. Police Department, according to the Herald-Whig. “We want to get the students out there and get them experiencing what real life is like. It can be eye-opening,” said Gray to the Whig. Gray even began noticing some of her own students at Blessing-Rieman were struggling with meals, so she spearheaded the creation of the Caring Cupboard, which provides canned and boxed goods, fresh produce and hygiene items to struggling students.

Compassion Fatigue Inspires Poetry

The thing about burning out in a job, especially in a role as demanding as nursing, is that one becomes so numb that dramatic events can start to feel commonplace. Which is why a semi-autographical poem from Kristin Laurel, a nurse from Waconia, Minn., with two decades of experience working in trauma care, is so interesting. She wrote it when she was contemplating burnout, yet was able to unpack intense experiences in precise, evocative detail that render empathy. Giving a perspective only a nurse could provide, Laurel shows pivotal moments between nurses and patients struggling with addiction, homelessness and more. The full story, and the poem, are available via NPR.

A Joy Ride

Nurses can get passionate about their jobs, and Jen Vetrovs, R.N., definitely falls into that category. Vetrovs is planning to ride her bike from Bar Harbor, Maine, to her hometown of Seattle in a fund- and awareness-raising effort on behalf of multiple sclerosis, according to the Seattle TV station King5. She works for the Swedish MS Center and was inspired by a patient of hers who had completed the journey after her MS diagnosis several years ago. The article doesn’t say how long she expects to ride the route, but in the unlikely event she was planning a yearlong ride, that would be about 11 miles a day – nothing to sneeze at.

Nurse Anesthetists Continue Move to Doctorates

The effort to transition nurse anesthetists away from a master’s degree practice requirement into a doctorate degree requirement continues, with one of the latest to convert being the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia. Pending accreditor approval, the school will no longer offer the master’s option in anticipation of the 2022 requirement that all nurse anesthetists have a doctor of nurse anesthesia practice degree. “This move to practice doctorate as an entry-level education requirement for certified registered nurse anesthetists will change how CRNAs practice. MTSA students will graduate with a Doctoral degree, the highest clinical practice degree in nursing,” said Maria Overstreet, R.N., dean of the school, in a news release.