Hospitals Try Subsidizing Education to Attract Nurses

Hospital leaders must be more resourceful than ever to grapple with the growing influx of patients nationwide and a nursing shortage that will not abate, STAT reports. For example, WVU Medicine in West Virginia, Va., was hindered by the “negative connotation” of its location, Chief Nursing Officer Doug Mitchell said. So, the hospital offered free dorms to prospective nurses who would rather commute long distances than move to the area, and hundreds of nurses signed on. Other hospitals are testing creative tactics such as offering signing bonuses and subsidizing education for candidates. But, these recruitment strategies only address the symptoms, not the source of the nursing shortage, some say — which is rooted in the resources available to nursing schools.

Nurses Become Opioid Baby Experts

Nurse practitioners at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital helped create one of the first treatment protocols for babies exposed to opioids and developed a program linking mothers with treatment and therapy, NPR reports. Kyle Cook and Carla Saunders became subject matter experts in 2010 after the hospital nursery became inundated with babies who were in opioid withdrawal. With little expertise available throughout the country at the time on how to care for babies in this situation, Cook and Saunders took the lead in developing and standardizing that knowledge.

RNs Answer 911 Calls

The Las Vegas Fire Department is experimenting with having nurses answer certain 911 calls, aiming to better route responses and make sure patients get the appropriate level of care, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Kicking off in July, the pilot program employs eight RNs, who help send calls to the right place. When patients need transportation, but not urgently, the nurse dispatcher can send a Lyft vehicle, saving ambulances for patients requiring a higher level of care, the newspaper reports. The $300,000 pilot is expected to last about a year, at which time the fire department and Las Vegas’ city council will figure out whether to make it permanent. “I think it’s a really innovative service that’s also a better use of resources,” Las Vegas Fire Department Chief Willie McDonald said in the article.

Nurse-devised App Keeps Kids Out of Hot Cars

Thirty-nine children died of heat stroke in the U.S. last year, after being left in hot cars. But one registered nurse in Ohio wants to change those numbers and has invented a mobile app to help. Maria Striemer, R.N., got the idea after seeing a child in her care almost die from heatstroke, the Dayton Daily News reports. She and her engineer husband developed the Backseet Buddy app, which uses a Bluetooth beacon installed in the child's car seat to alert parents via mobile when the temperature rises inside the car. The app is not yet commercially available, but Strimer says interest has been high thus far. ““A lot of people have reached out to us and asked when it comes out,” she told the newspaper. “People said they needed it out yesterday.”"

Rapid Fire

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