Category Archives: Education and training
Adopting best practices from home-based hospice care in the inpatient environment can reduce suffering at the end of life, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Researchers at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham said the study is the first to show that palliative care techniques usually used in home settings can have an impact on those who die in hospitals.
The Best Practices for End-of-Life Care for Our Nation’s Veterans (BEACON) trial was conducted at six Veterans Affairs Medical Centers from 2005 to 2011 and involved training more than 1,620 staff members in aspects of care for more than 6,000 dying patients. Although focused on veterans, the study can have a wider impact, researchers said, because most Americans will die in the inpatient setting of a hospital or nursing home.
“We only die once, and therefore there is only one opportunity to provide excellent care to a patient in the last days of life,” wrote lead author F. Amos Bailey, MD, director of the Safe Harbor Palliative Care Program at the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, professor in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and a 2000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader. “The keys to excellent end-of-life care are recognizing the imminently dying patient, communicating the prognosis, identifying goals of care, and anticipating and palliating symptoms. Since it is not possible to predict with certainty which symptoms will arise, it is prudent to have a flexible plan ready.”
Brenda Zierler, PhD, RN, FAAN, is a professor of behavioral nursing and health systems at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she focuses on interprofessional education in the health professions. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows program (2008-2011). This post is part of the “Health Care in 2014” series, in which health leaders, as well as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars, grantees, and alumni, share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system and their priorities for action this year.
Over the last several years, health professional students at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle have had numerous opportunities to participate in interprofessional education (IPE) events using a variety of pedagogical approaches, experiences, and technologies such as unfolding web-based cases, team-building exercises, simulated scenarios, mock codes, joint quality improvement placements, shadowing health professionals, and service learning in the community.
These activities are highly rated, and students typically provide positive testimonials about the importance of working together early in their training. Although the feedback provided by the students is overwhelmingly positive, I was concerned that the students were not fully understanding the rationale for these numerous IPE activities, which are logistically challenging to develop, implement, and evaluate.
I was recently invited to give a lecture to describe local and national IPE initiatives to pre-licensure students in a UW leadership class. These students had participated in two IPE events during one academic quarter. While standing outside of the classroom waiting for the first guest speaker to finish his PowerPoint lecture, I decided to abandon the lecture and instead to facilitate a discussion on the rationale for the IPE events.
Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, is president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. This post is part of the “Health Care in 2014” series, in which health leaders, as well as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars, grantees, and alumni, share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system and their priorities for action this year.
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the landmark study conducted by Linda Aiken, PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN, and colleagues, which showed a strong connection between nursing education and patient outcomes. Published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the study’s researchers found that patients experienced significantly lower mortality and failure to rescue rates in hospitals with higher proportions of baccalaureate-prepared nurses. In her analysis, Dr. Aiken stated that the study’s results “suggest that employers’ efforts to recruit and retain baccalaureate-prepared nurses in bedside care and their investments in further education for nurses may lead to substantial improvements in the quality of care.”
A High Priority for Action in 2014
Marsha Howell Adams, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, is president of the National League for Nursing (NLN), and senior associate dean of academic programs and professor at The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. This post is part of the “Health Care in 2014” series, in which health leaders, as well as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholars, grantees, and alumni, share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system and their priorities for action this year.
This past December, I was lucky to attend a holiday reception at the White House with Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, my immediate predecessor as president of the NLN. It’s one of the nice benefits of being president.
I have experienced the White House via public tours many times throughout the years, but this visit was very different. We were able to explore rooms that those on White House tours can only glimpse from the hallways. We could study the art on the walls and absorb a sense of the purpose, power, and passion of past and present leaders. The prospect of meeting the president and first lady created such an excitement in me that it almost took my breath away. No matter one’s political point of view, meeting our nation’s president, especially in the White House, is truly an honor and a privilege.
Given near-universal concern over rising health care costs, are new physicians being taught to keep costs in check?
Not enough of them, according to a research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine in December. Lead author Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, and his research team analyzed survey responses from nearly 300 U.S. internal medicine residency programs. They found that fewer than 15 percent have curricula designed to teach residents to be more cost-conscious.
“Evidence shows that physicians who recently completed residency training practice medicine at a higher cost than more experienced physicians,” Patel and his team wrote. Among 295 programs that responded to a questionnaire on cost-conscious care in a 2012 survey from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, 14.9 percent indicated that they had a formal curriculum in cost-conscious care; another 49.8 percent responded that they did not, but were working on it.
Efforts to increase the percentage of baccalaureate-educated nurses in West Virginia are getting a boost from a new online RN-to-BSN program at the University of Charleston (UC) in the state capital. The program, which will begin in the spring, will allow registered nurses (RNs) to complete requirements for a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree in as little as 18 months.
The university’s president, Ed Welch, PhD, said in a news release that the program “answers an immediate need of West Virginia’s health care facilities. By completing their bachelor’s degree at UC in just 18 months, and continuing to work full time, nurses are able to advance their careers and better serve patients in the field.”
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program alumnus Duane Napier, MSN, RN-BC, formerly executive director of the West Virginia Center for Nursing, is the UC RN-BSN program coordinator. “We’ve had a great response since announcing the program,” Napier said in an interview. “It's the state's first online program that doesn't require any campus sessions, so it's truly designed for the working nurse.”
Newly minted physicians who train in underserved health facilities are much more likely to continue practicing in such facilities after completing their residency training, according to research by the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, an independent research unit of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
The study, “Do Residents Who Train in Safety Net Settings Return for Practice?,” found that up to half of medical residents who trained in rural health clinics, critical access hospitals, and federally qualified health centers—which serve most of the nation's uninsured and underinsured patients—returned to practice in those settings. The study is published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.
“Overall, between one-third and one-half of the residents we identified in any of these settings during training were also identified as practicing in these same settings after training,” writes Robert Phillips, MD, MSPH, and his co-authors.
This is part of the December 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing’s Knowledge.
Americans Favor Increased Access to Nurse Practitioners
A new telephone survey commissioned by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) shows strong support for increased access to care provided by nurse practitioners (NPs).
Among the survey's findings:
- A large majority favors removal of requirements that NPs work only under the supervision of physicians. Sixty-two percent of respondents support allowing NPs to prescribe medications and order diagnostic tests without such supervision. Just 17 states and the District of Columbia currently grant NPs full-practice authority, according to AANP.
- An overwhelming majority of Americans back legislation making it easier to choose NPs as their health care providers. Seventy percent of respondents favor legislation to eliminate barriers preventing patients from choosing NPs.
- There is widespread familiarity with NPs. Eighty percent of respondents have either seen an NP or know someone who has. More than half (53 percent) say a family member has seen one.
"These results clearly confirm what we have known anecdotally for years: American health care consumers trust NPs and want greater access to the safe, effective services they provide," AANP Co-President Ken Miller said in a news release.
The telephone survey was conducted by The Mellman Group, a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm. Its margin of error is +/-3.1 percent at the 95-percent level of confidence.
This is part of the December 2013 issue of Sharing Nursing's Knowledge.
“Nurse practitioners, health aides, pharmacists, dietitians, psychologists and others already care for patients in numerous ways, and their roles should expand in the future. The rise of nonphysician providers will enable more team care. Skilled health aides will monitor patients at home and alert a doctor if certain medical parameters decline. Nurses will provide wound care to diabetic patients, adjust medications like blood thinners and provide the initial management of chemotherapy side effects for cancer patients. ... Policy changes will be necessary to reach the full potential of team care. That means expanding the scope of practice laws for nurse practitioners and pharmacists to allow them to provide comprehensive primary care ... Most important, we need to change medical school curriculum to provide training in team care to take full advantage of the capabilities of nonphysicians in caring for patients.”
-- Scott Gottlieb, MD, American Enterprise Institute, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, No, There Won’t Be a Doctor Shortage, New York Times, December 4, 2013.
“Let me put it this way, we have over 1,200 pre-nursing students. I can only take about 108 a year. In the fall, we had over 600 applicants for 44 positions. Realistically, we are turning away people with 3.6 and 3.7 GPAs. And I think that story is playing out on CSU campuses everywhere.”
-- Dwight Sweeney, PhD, California State University, San Bernardino, Nursing Students Being Turned Away Amid Faculty Shortage in Cal State System, Los Angeles Daily News, December 1, 2013
Mirroring national trends, the California State University (CSU) system is turning away qualified nursing school applicants due to faculty shortages, reports the Los Angeles Daily News, and CSU officials fear that the situation will worsen the nurse shortage in a state that already has one of the country’s lowest numbers of nurses per capita.
This fall, CSU Long Beach had a nursing program acceptance rate of 18 percent, having received 450 applications for 82 slots. CSU Northridge had a “very highly qualified” pool of 300 applicants but could only accept 60. CSU Chico had to turn down 86 percent of its fully qualified applicants, while CSU San Marcos turned away nearly 89 percent.
“Let me put it this way, we have over 1,200 pre-nursing students,” Dwight Sweeney, interim chairman of nursing at CSU San Bernardino, told the Daily News. “I can only take about 108 a year. In the fall, we had over 600 applicants for 44 positions. Realistically, we are turning away people with 3.6 and 3.7 GPAs. And I think that story is playing out on CSU campuses everywhere.”