Category Archives: Washington (WA) P

Oct 8 2013
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A Culture Where Education Is Valued and Celebrated

Three years ago this week, the Institute of Medicine issued a landmark report, Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Its recommendations include increasing the proportion of nurses with baccalaureate degrees to 80 percent by 2020. Charleen Tachibana, MN, RN, FAAN, is senior vice president, hospital administrator, and chief nursing officer at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Tachibana is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2009 – 2012).

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Virginia Mason Medical Center began a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN)-only hiring guideline in the summer of 2012. The change in hiring guidelines for our staff followed a decade of having educational guidelines in place for our nurse leaders. This was a critical step in our success, as our leaders were able to support and understand the need for this change. It’s important for leaders to model lifelong learning, including advancement with formal education. So, last August I also began my Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

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The publication of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on the Future of Nursing really provided the momentum to move to another level.  The prominence of this report has made this a relatively easy transition and provided the clarity on why this is critical for our patients and for our profession at this point in time. 

Although we have focused this requirement on new hires, it’s been impressive to see the wave of staff RNs returning to school, many for their master’s or doctorate degrees.

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Aug 2 2013
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Are You Considering a Career in Public Health Nursing?

Marni Storey, BSN, MS, is interim director of Clark County Public Health in Vancouver, Washington, chair-elect of the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow (2013-2016).

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I am often asked if I recommend public health nursing as a career option. My enthusiastic answer is ABSOLUTELY! I have been a public health nurse for more than 25 years and am one of a very few Americans who wakes up every day believing I have the best job in the world. There are many reasons I enjoy this profession, but three important pillars of public health nursing have kept me engaged for more than 25 years, and will keep me enthusiastic for many years to come.

The first pillar is that public health nursing services—including nursing assessment, intervention, and evaluation—are focused on a population, not on individuals. Whether you are interested in women, children, ethnic or cultural groups, or if you are interested in conditions such as HIV/AIDS, communicable diseases or obesity, the strategies used by public health nurses affect entire communities. While challenging, this population focus is also rewarding because, as a public health nurse, you are developing an understanding of an entire group of people or community in order to effectively carry out your nursing duties. This is very different from the individual relationships you develop in other nursing fields. Also rewarding is the chance to witness community transformation as a result of the collective impact of communities working together.

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Jul 24 2013
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Helping One Person at a Time

Anneleen Severynen, RN, MN, PHN, is a public health nurse working on the South King County Mobile Medical Unit for Public Health Seattle and King County in Washington State.

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I work as a public health nurse on King County’s mobile medical unit, traveling south of Seattle in a van, providing for the health care needs of homeless individuals.  I perform many “nursing” tasks in my job – taking blood pressures, getting health histories, dressing wounds.  But my most important nursing skill is my ability to listen.

This morning I met Charlie.  Charlie is a 60-year-old Native American man who reported that he began drinking at age 12, while being passed around to various foster families.

At 17, he went to Vietnam to get away from abuse and neglect, only to be traumatized further by the war.

He called himself a “lost cause” and said he would probably never stop drinking, and knows that he “will die soon.”  As I sat silently, I listened to him grieve the loss of his culture and detail the many kinds of discrimination he has suffered. Though he spoke with the slurred speech of a chronic alcoholic, his eloquence moved me. I noticed tears in his eyes as he described a few happy childhood memories with his father—memories not quite lost to him.

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Aug 23 2012
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Nine States Receive RWJF Grants to Build More Highly Educated Nursing Workforce

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) program this week announced that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Washington state have been chosen to receive grants to advance state and regional strategies aimed at creating a more highly educated, diverse nursing workforce. Each state will receive a two-year, $300,000 grant. 

The states will now work with academic institutions and employers on implementing sophisticated strategies to help nurses get higher degrees in order to improve patient care and help fill faculty and advanced practice nursing roles.  In particular, the states will encourage strong partnerships between community colleges and universities to make it easier for nurses to transition to higher degrees.

In its groundbreaking report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that 80 percent of the nursing workforce be prepared at the baccalaureate level or higher by the year 2020.  At present, about half of nurses in the United States have baccalaureate or higher degrees.

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Apr 9 2012
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Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Suicide-Prevention Training

By Jennifer Stuber, PhD, assistant professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. Stuber is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars program (2004-2006). Her research interests include health policy, interventions to refute stigmatization and tobacco-related health disparities.

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Health policy happens to be my area of professional expertise. But it has gotten very personal for me over the last 18 months.

It was about that long ago that my husband, Matt Adler, started having symptoms of depression and anxiety. An accomplished lawyer and a beloved father and husband, he found the illness and the stigma that came with it overpowering. We got him counseling and medication from a psychiatrist and a psychologist, but in the end, he took his own life.

I won’t try to describe the canyon-sized sense of loss my kids and I feel, or for that matter, any of the other emotions we’ve experienced since that horrible day last February. But I’ve worked hard to try to generate something positive from Matt’s ordeal and from ours.

A few months before he died, Matt asked me if I had any ideas about ways to put his legal skills to work on behalf of people with mental illness. He said he’d like to devote some pro bono time to the subject. After his death, I knew I wanted to honor that request as best I could. So I began discussing the subject with my fellow faculty at the University of Washington, and with suicide-prevention experts in the community.

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