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Tentative association between nurse understaffing and infant infection rates

The higher the levels of nurse understaffing, the greater the risk of infection among infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU), according to a study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers examined data from more than 11,000 infants who spent at least three days in NICUs, as well as data on NICU staffing levels of registered nurses.

According to the study, nurse understaffing occurred for 32% of all infants in NICUs, and for 85% of infants who required higher levels of care. In many instances, approximately one additional nurse per ten infants overall, and one additional nurse per three infants requiring higher levels of care, would allow hospitals to meet minimum national staffing guidelines. Although researchers were able to show an association between NICU nursing staffing and infant infection rates, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link.

How does your organization allocate nursing resources in the NICU?

Proposed 2014 National Patient Safety Goal on alarm management

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Patient Safety Monitor blog.

On January 15, the Joint Commission issued a proposed National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) on management of alarms. Alarms are intended to avert caregivers of potential patient problems, but if they are not properly managed, they can compromise patient safety, and there is a general agreement that this is an important safety issue, according to the release.

This proposed NPSG focuses on managing alarms that have the most direct relationship to patient safety. As alarm management solutions are identified, this proposed NPSG would be updated to reflect best practices. A survey in the release contains 15 questions and respondents will be able to offer their comments directly to the Joint Commission. The survey is open until February 26, 2013.

View the proposed NPSG requirements.

Take the online survey.

Submit comments via online form.

Do as I say, and as I do: Setting a healthy example for patients

More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and many speculate that percentage will continue growing in the coming years. With so many health issues linked to being overweight or obese, it is in the best interest of patients to listen to their healthcare professionals’ advice and move toward a healthier lifestyle and a lower weight. But what happens when physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are the ones with the extra pounds?

Two students from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine asked this question, and responded by establishing The Patient Promise, an initiative aimed at addressing clinician health and encouraging physicians and other healthcare professionals to adopt the healthier habits they prescribe to their patients. The initiative’s website cited data that found 63% of physicians and 55% of nurses were overweight or obese, and pointed to additional research that showed physicians who live healthier lifestyles and are at healthier weights are more likely to address weight issues with their patients. Within a few weeks of launching The Patient Promise, 300 healthcare professionals and medical students across the country had signed the pledge to show their support.

Earlier this year, we posted on the blog about a study from the University of Maryland that examined the impacts of job stress and irregular work hours on nurses’ weight. The obesity issue, and more broadly the issue of leading a healthy lifestyle, is one that needs to be addressed, and projects like The Patient Promise are steps in the right direction. As the Patient Promise website says, “Hippocrates, not hypocrisy.” Nurses and physicians have the opportunity to lead by example and make a positive change in both their own lives and the lives of their patients; it is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

Leave a comment and let us know about any initiatives your organization has in place or is considering for promoting a healthier lifestyle among your nurses and physicians.

ANA voices opinion on healthcare reform repeal attempts

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has sent a letter to all members of the House of Representatives stating its opposition and disappointment in the House’s efforts to repeal the healthcare reform law, and voicing its affirmative support of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Prior to the vote, the ANA also joined more than 150 organizations in a press conference on Capitol Hill to restate its firm support for the ACA.

In the letter, ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, expressed hope that lawmakers would focus on accomplishing a fully funded healthcare reform law, and said that the ACA provides much-needed reform in the healthcare industry— one that turns its attention to wellness, prevention, and greater access to care.

To view the letter, visit the ANA website, and to learn more about the ANA’s efforts on healthcare reform, click here.

Facebook posts could cost five California nurses their jobs

A few years ago, hospitals did not have to worry about patient information being posted on the internet, as social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook were not as popular as they have become today. Tri-City Medical Center in CA may be wishing for the days before computers, as five nurses’ jobs are in jeopardy and a sixth will be disciplined for allegedly posting patient information on Facebook. [more]

Americans spend millions on alternative therapies

A recent study of 23,000 Americans by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health found that Americans are spending $34 million a year in alternative therapies that are not covered by insurance, which is a 25% increase within the past decade. Alternative therapies can range from taking herbs to yoga classes, and are popular for both adults and children.

The study found that $22 million of the $34 million is spent on “self care,” where patients use an alternative therapy, such as taking fish oil supplements or homeopathic medications, without their health practitioner’s advice. As more and more Americans seek alternative therapies, it is important for nurses to be aware of how these drugs or methods may effect patients’ prescriptions or treatment. [more]

Poll taps into time frames for new grad orientation

Orientation is a critical, and often stressful, period for new graduate nurses. Adapting to a new facility, trying to remember everything from nursing school, and applying the knowledge learned in nursing school at the bedside are all tall tasks in themselves. But a supportive work environment, and some time, can ease the transition for new grads. [more]