Jun 13 2013
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Human Capital News Roundup: Combating compassion fatigue, the effects of poor sleep, living wills, and more.

Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:

Getting less than six hours of sleep a night raises levels of inflammation among women with heart disease, and therefore increases the risk of a heart attack, according to a five-year study led by RWJF Health & Society Scholars alumnus Aric Prather, PhD. The findings did not hold true for men. United Press International and HealthDay are among the outlets to report on the findings.

RWJF Community Health Leader Darleen Reveille, RN, spoke to The Record about new community gardens in Garfield, New Jersey, and a program that will give 7th-graders and their families hands-on gardening experience as a way to learn healthy eating habits. “We’re trying to raise awareness in a fun way,” she said. “By creating these activities, you’re engaging the community, not just lecturing them on what they should do.”

“Nurses are particularly at risk for becoming overwhelmed and depleted,” RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Cynda Hylton Rushton, PhD, RN, FAAN, told the Washington Post about “compassion fatigue ” She said: “When the clinician suffers, so does the patient,” which is why many hospitals are using creative arts to help nurses manage stress and re-energize. Fierce Healthcare also picked up the story.

A study led by RWJF Physician Faculty Scholars alumnus Deverick J. Anderson, MD, MPH, finds that small community hospitals have higher rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia than larger hospitals, even though they use ventilators less frequently. The researchers hypothesize the disparity could result from limited familiarity with the equipment and the on-staff availability of fewer respiratory therapists and other specialty workers, News Medical and Fierce Healthcare report.

Peter Ubel, MD, an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, wrote an article for Forbes about what behavioral economics teach us about the role of living wills in medical care. Living wills are often complicated and create “choice overload” for patients, Ubel writes, and asking physicians to explain complex hypothetical decisions is “expecting more out of them than… most physicians can deliver.” In the article, Ubel cites a critique of living wills co-authored by fellow Investigator Award recipient Carl E. Schneider, JD. Read a post Ubel wrote for the RWJF Human Capital Blog.

VNA Health Care plans to build a second Federally Qualified Health Center in Aurora, Illinois, to provide care for medically underserved patients, VNA president and Executive Nurse Fellows alumna Linnea Windel, MSN, RN, told the Beacon-News.

Tags: Research, Medical, dental and nursing workforce, Nurses, Work environment, End-of-life care , Human Capital, Human Capital News, Media Coverage, Nursing, Research & Analysis, Health & Society Scholars, Community Health Leaders, Executive Nurse Fellows, Physician Faculty Scholars, Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research