Category Archives: Voices from the Field
In 2003, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB), a nationwide, nurse-focused effort to improve health care delivery. TCAB recognized that nurses often hold the key to making hospital care more effective, patient-centered and efficient. David Harrington, RN, BSN, CMSRN, has been a nurse at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center since 2006 and a TCAB leader there for two years. Erin Hochstein, RN, BSN, PCCN has been a staff nurse at Providence since 2010 and a TCAB leader for two years. This is part of a series of posts for National Nurses Week, highlighting how nurses are driving quality and innovation in patient care.
As nurses, we are with our patients and their families during some of the most pivotal moments in their lives, which is a true honor. Yet, with the ever-increasing demands of health care, the responsibilities of nurses have become greater, pulling us away from the bedside. To curb this trend we were given the opportunity, at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, to adopt Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB), a program that gives bedside staff the chance to streamline care and improve patient outcomes.
By allowing us direct input on our workflow, we have the opportunity to develop rapid tests of change that we implement over the course of one shift. This adjustment in practice empowers frontline nurses to be catalysts of change for patient care, permitting us creative liberty in finding solutions to practice and system issues we face on a daily basis.
The Providence St. Vincent TCAB team began its journey in 2010 by visiting Prairie Lakes Hospital in Watertown, South Dakota, one of the original TCAB pilot sites, as part of an innovation grant provided by Providence Health & Services. Nurse representatives from three medical-surgical units along with hospital leaders were introduced to TCAB in action. As newly appointed TCAB leaders, we returned from the trip feeling motivated, inspired, and ready for change.
Adejoke Ayoola, PhD, RN, is an assistant professor with the Calvin College Department of Nursing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.
Nurses in the United States are caring for a progressively more diverse population. In 2008, ethnic and racial minority groups accounted for about one third of the United States population. According to the United States Census Bureau, people from ethnic and racial minority groups— namely Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander—will together outnumber non-Hispanics over the next four decades. Minorities, now 37 percent of the U.S. population, are projected to comprise 57 percent of the population in 2060. The total minority population would more than double, from 116.2 million to 241.3 million over the period (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012). So it is essential to have a nursing workforce that will reflect the population of the United States so as to deliver cost-effective, quality care and improve patients’ satisfaction and health outcomes, especially among ethnic and racial minorities.
The importance of promoting diversity in the nursing workforce is acknowledged by various nursing agencies and health organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2013). Diversity in the nursing workforce provides opportunities to deliver quality care which promotes patient satisfaction and emotional well-being.
When I take my students to the hospital for their clinical rotations in acute care, I often assign those who are Spanish-speakers to Spanish-speaking patients. It has often been a win-win situation for both my students and the patients. Recently we cared for a Hispanic patient who did not speak English and had just given birth to her first baby. Her face lit up when my student spoke to her in Spanish! There was no one else with the woman, so the student’s ability to interact with her in a language she understood made a big difference. We noticed positive progress in the patient’s emotional and physical state as a result of her interaction with the student during the shift.
Tracey L. Yap, PhD, RN, CNE, WCC, is an assistant professor at the Duke University School of Nursing, a John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellow, and a senior fellow at the Duke University Center for Aging and Human Development. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI), Yap and her co-investigators developed a cost-effective, nurse-led intervention that aimed to reduce the prevalence of pressure ulcers in long-term care facilities by increasing resident mobility through a musical prompting system specifically tailored to each facility. This is part of a series of posts for National Nurses Week, highlighting how nurses are driving quality and innovation in patient care.
It started with a boombox and the Byrds.
Those are hardly the first things that come to mind when you think about pressure ulcers, also referred to as bed sores—the wounds that are caused by continuous, unrelieved pressure on the skin and that often develop in people who have impaired mobility. Yet that’s just how my husband, a physician who has a large population of patients in long-term care, inspired this research by suggesting that I pursue a grant related to this serious issue.
At one long-term care facility, my husband had a maintenance person use a boombox over the public address system to play “Turn, Turn, Turn” at two-hour intervals. It was a creative, simple, and fun way to remind staff to move patients, and it appeared to be effective in preventing pressure ulcers.
We were in Kentucky at the time, and I was teaching at the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing. When I took my husband’s suggestion and applied for an INQRI grant, it radically changed my life—and the lives of many long-term care residents—for good. In my PhD studies, I’d focused on occupational health, and the INQRI grant helped me apply that knowledge in a new way and ultimately led to my current work at Duke University.
Julie A. Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, is Nightingale Professor of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing. She is a predoctoral fellow at the Penn Nursing Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research. Safiyyah Okoye, BSN, RN, and Jill Vanek, BSN, MSN, are students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
The 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report “Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” pointed out that because nursing scope of practice regulations vary across states, and because there is little rationale for these variations, the federal government, through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, “is well situated to promote effective reforms [related to regulation of APRN scope of practice] by collecting and disseminating best practices from across the country and incentivizing their adoption.”
The IOM recommended that the FTC and the Department of Justice review existing and proposed state regulations related to advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to identify those that limit competition without contributing to the health and safety of the public, and urge such states to allow APRNs to provide care to patients in all circumstances in which they are qualified to do so.
Created in 1914 to promote consumer protection by eliminating and preventing anticompetitive, unsafe, or deceptive business practices, the FTC is the logical agency to address scope of practice laws. The FTC’s responsibility is to promote competition, inform consumer choice, and protect consumer safety. All are directly related to APRN scope of practice regulations, including those mandating physician supervision and oversight of APRNs when there is not “a compelling consumer protection rationale” for doing so. That includes evidence justifying restrictions on APRNs’ ability to provide health care services that could override the public interests with regard to choice, cost or competition.
Felix German Contreras, 22, of Atlantic City, N.J., credits his 2012 participation in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), and his teachers at the Yale University site, for opening new doors to opportunities. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Contreras emigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 6. He will graduate from Atlantic Cape Community College next year and plans to attend Yale School of Medicine. Started in 1988, more than 21,000 alumni have completed SMDEP, which today sponsors 12 university sites with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.
Living as an immigrant and student with only part-time employment is a daily battle. But I will never allow these challenges to slay my dreams. With so many struggles, I am often asked: “Felix, how do you do it?”
I cannot help but smile when I reply, as it is not a secret; nor do I believe it is a talent—it is simply a strong work ethic. I have realized the best things in life are the hardest to obtain.
My doors to new unexpected opportunities were opened when a late-night online search in 2012 led me to the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program. I applied and was accepted at the six-week program’s Yale University site. It was there where I met mentors and students with similar aspirations to improve communities through medicine. Not only did the intensive program place me on a sure-footed path toward a health sciences career, my English improved tremendously through rigorous reading and writing. You can’t believe how much six weeks can give someone who is eager to receive. SMDEP exposed me to countless possibilities on the other side.
Monique Trice, 24, is a University of Louisville School of Dentistry student who will complete her studies in 2015. Trice completed the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) in 2008 at the University of Louisville site. Started in 1988, SMDEP (formerly known as the Minority Medical Education Program and Summer Medical and Education Program), is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation–sponsored program with more than 21,000 alumni. Today, SMDEP sponsors 12 sites, with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session. This is part of a series of posts looking at diversity in the health care workforce.
Diversity is more than ethnicity. It also includes geography, perspective, and more. I was raised in Enterprise, Ala., which is in Coffee County. The community’s demographic and geographic makeup set the stage for an oral health care crisis. Here’s how:
- Enterprise is a community of 27,000 and just 15 licensed general dentists, three Medicaid dental providers, and zero licensed pediatric dentists to service Coffee County, a population of 51,000. In 2011, Alabama’s Office of Primary Care and Rural Health reported that 65 of the state’s 67 counties were designated as dental health shortage areas for low-income populations.
- According to this data, more than 260 additional dentists would be needed to bridge gaps and fully meet the need. For some residents, time, resources, and distance figure into the equation, putting dental care out of reach. In some rural communities, an hour’s drive is required to access dental services.
- Lack of affordable public transportation creates often-insurmountable barriers to accessing dental care.
Growing up in a single-parent household, my siblings and I experienced gaps in dental care. Fortunately, we never suffered from an untreated cavity from poor oral health care, but many low-income, underserved children and adults are not so lucky.
Elliott Fisher, MD, MPH, a health policy researcher and alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program (1983-1985), was recently named director of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice. Fisher coined the term “Accountable Care Organization” (ACO). In this Clinical Scholar Health Policy podcast, he discusses the origins of ACOs and the effort to develop them in the nation’s health care system. Watch his interview with RWJF Clinical Scholar Chileshe Nkonde-Price, MD, (2012-2014). The video is republished with permission from the Leonard Davis Institute.
Kathleen J. Mullen, PhD, is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research program, and an economist and associate director of the RAND Center for Disability Research at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.
Dementia, a chronic disease characterized by significant impairment of cognitive functioning, afflicts 15 of every 100 Americans over age 70 – and it is their caregivers who are perhaps most familiar with the disease’s effects.
Family members are often the ones who find themselves navigating the complex system of nursing homes, in-home health care, and health insurance (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance), all while dealing with heartbreaking changes in the physical and mental functioning of their spouses, siblings, parents or grandparents. Indeed, my own family is struggling to sort through an overwhelming number of options and decisions to help ensure that my 86-year old grandmother receives the best available care now that she is unable to live without daily assistance.
For many families, a significant barrier to that best available care is cost: Caring for someone with dementia is extremely expensive. A recent RAND study, the results of which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, offers some of the most comprehensive and credible estimates to date of the monetary costs of dementia in the United States. These costs include both out-of-pocket spending and spending by Medicare, Medicaid, and other third parties on nursing home and hospital stays, medical visits, outpatient surgery, home health care, special services (such as outpatient rehabilitation), prescription drugs, dental services, and other needs.
This blog post offers perspectives from seven Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars who attended TEDMED 2013 last week.
Seeing things in new and different ways will advance nursing practice, research, and education. We need to think of creative strategies to raze perceived boundaries. One way for nurses to enter new frontiers is to engage in interprofessional dialogue with consumers, health care providers, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, designers, and artists. We experienced this interchange at TEDMED 2013—an interprofessional conference for sharing and exploring solutions to health care’s most pressing challenges.
Collaboration is Key
Adejoke Ayoola: The opportunities to explore new advances in technology and interact with innovators remind me of an African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” The outcome is more fulfilling with collaboration. By collaborating with stakeholders (e.g., community residents, community health workers, local agencies), research not only becomes more effective, it becomes more relevant to societal needs. Collaboration with my nursing colleagues promotes scholarly growth and may involve writing manuscripts or conducting smaller studies associated with a bigger study.
Jason Houle, PhD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Wisconsin. He recently published a study online in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine that finds association between depressive symptoms and mortality is due to later health problems, not prior physical health conditions.
Human Capital Blog: Why did you decide to look at this particular topic?
Jason Houle: I first started looking at this topic in graduate school, when I took a course on event history models (a quantitative method often used when studying mortality). Up to that point, most of my research focused on the social determinants of mental health, but I had become increasingly interested in the link between mental and physical health. While there’s a long literature on how depression influences physical health (and vice versa), as a demographer, I was really interested in the link between depression and mortality. When researching this topic, I discovered a rather large literature that showed that people who experience depression tend to die younger, on average, than those who do not. However, it wasn’t clear from prior research why, exactly, depressed people tend to die younger than those who are not. Though it makes sense that depression is linked with mortality, the reasons behind it remained a puzzle, and I thought it would make an interesting project.