Friday, February 29, 2008

Help Encourage Increased Funding for Nursing Workforce Development Programs

On Feb 25, 2008, Congressional Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Steven LaTourette(R-OH) began circulating a "Dear Colleagues" letter in the House of Representatives seeking support of funding the Title VIII Nursing Workforce Development Program at a level of $200 million for FY 2009.

The American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing are asking nurses for help. Nurses are encouraged to contact(by phone, FAX. or Email) their Congressional Representative to encourage him/her to co-sign this letter by Wednesday, March 12, 2008. Find your Representative at

President Bush's proposed budget for FY 2009 reduces the funding for Title VIII by 30% ($46.1 million) from FY2008. He accomplished this by completely eliminating the funding for "Advanced Education Nursing." (At a time when more nurse educators are needed!)

According to the National League for Nursing, more than 30 years ago, also during a (far less serious) nursing shortage, Congress appropriated $153.6 million for nurse education programs to help ease the nursing shortage (which it did).

If you factor in inflation and adjust that number for the current dollar value, it would be $634 million today. That's four times the amount being appropriated today for Title VIII programs! And this nursing shortage is at a crisis level, and the President wants to cut funds even more!

Read more about this issue from the National League for Nursing.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Article Index Now on The Nursing Site

I'm adding content to TheNursingSite and have now made an Article Index page so if you're in a hurry to find a particular article you can find it there faster. Be sure to check the specific web pages however, as there is also relevant information and links you don't want to miss.

As always, if you have any specific content added, please be sure to Email me. And many thanks to those who have asked before they use my content!! It is important to respect copyrights!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Joining Forces With the National Nurse Efforts

Patient education is a key element in helping patients to assume responsibility for their own health status and outcomes. Nurses are a primary source for patient education, but beyond the bedside, nurses are not always as accessible. Practitioners have cut office operational costs by using medical assistants and lay personnel.

An Office of the National Nurse could help to make nurses more accessible to the general public. Health care costs are expected to double in the U.S. by 2017. Using nurses effectively to promote wellness and health care education would go a long way in healing the health care crisis.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Michigan Funds Program to Help High School Students Prepare for Nursing School

Here's a perfect example of why nurses should pay attention to political issues. The state of Michigan is funding a program to better prepare high school students for nursing school. One of the reasons nursing students don't succeed in nursing school is that they have difficulties with the math or reading.

This poor success rate is why so many nursings schools have now instituted entrance exams to exclude students who don't have the math, reading and science skills to pass.

This type of program is designed to help high school students achieve the necessary math, science and reading skills to succeed and to eventually become nurses and help to solve the nursing shortage.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Important Political Issues for Nurses in 2008

Even if you're not interested in politics, political events affect your life as a nurse everyday. Politics affects our patients and the corporations or small business we work for. Like it or not, nurses need to become informed about the issues at stake in their homelands and how political candidates stand on these issues. Nurses need to make their voices heard and know who to contact. Most importantly, nurses need to vote!

Livesmarter suggests The 10 Most Important Political Issues for Nurses in 2008 include such matters as health insurance, education, media image, staffing levels, and drug companies. A National Nurse in America is another suggested point.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gift Ideas for Nurses Week

If you are looking for inexpensive ideas to add to your celebration of Nurses Week with your staff, check out the options on my website There are two different Print Your Own kits which includes a card, a bookmark, a certificate of appreciation and postcards. You can also print paper nurse's caps for decorations. There are also options available from Cafe Press which include tote bags, journals, apparel, and an adorable Teddy Bear. Similar items are available from The Nursing Site shop at Cafe Press as well.

Be sure to take the opportunity to celebrate the nursing profession. One of the best ways to do this is to devote the time to learn something new and to share your knowledge. Treat yourself to a new piece of equipment or something that helps to make your job easier. This may be a simple as a fancy new pen that easier to write with.

photo: Nurse's cap by Kathy Quan

UPDATE: for 2009 see this post

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a very busy day for me, but I want to be sure to wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy your chocolate coma!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nurses Day and Nurses Week Themes Announced

Annual celebrations of the nursing profession will take place in a few weeks. In the U.S., National Recognition Day for Nurses (aka Nurses Day) is May 6 and Nurses Week is May 6-12. In 1996, the American Nurses Association initiated National RN Recognition Day as May 6 as well.

May 12 is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. In honor of this, the International Council of Nurses recognizes May 12 each year since 1965 as International Nurses Day.

This year the American Nurses Association has set the theme for Nurses Week as Nurses Making a Difference Everyday. The Canadian Nurses Association will reprise its 2007 theme Think you know nursing? Take a Close Look for National Nurses Week which will be celebrated May 12 to 18, 2008. The International Council of Nurses theme for Nurses Day, May 12, 2008, is Delivering Quality, Serving Communities Nurses Leading Primary Health Care.

These celebrations are to honor nurses for the job that they do and to bring recognition to the profession. By using this time to educate the public on the nursing profession, we have an opportunity to raise public awareness of health issues and to encourage others to discover nursing as a career.

Make plans to honor yourself and your colleagues. Do something to advance your education, further your knowledge, honor yourself for a job well done and encourage someone to become a nurse. Don't wait for someone else to do this for you, make it happen!

For more about Nurses Day, Nurses Week, and ideas for celebrating the nursing profession see TheNursingSite.

Logo ©2008 The American Nurses Association

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nurses: Educate Your Patients About Medications!

Heath Ledger's death from an acidental overdose of medications points out the need for patient education! Americans are often way too medicated. If one doctor won't provide a prescription they seek out another. But the problem isn't just with those seeking pain killers, sleeping pills and/or anti-anxiety medications and mixing them.

As a home health nurse I have seen people with several versions of the same or similar medications such as anti-hypertensives or other cardiac drugs because they see so many different doctors and no one is overseeing the care.

I've had many patients on Lisinopril for instance who were also prescribed Prinivil or Zestril by another physician. (These are all the same drug. Lisinopril is the generic name and Prinivil and Zestril are brand names.) Patients didn't know, and as the QI nurse reviewing charts, I caught the problem that the field nurse or therapist even overlooked!!

Different prescriptions from different doctors taken to a different pharmacy is a recipe for disaster! Just the same as those seeking drugs for pain or sleep.

OTC meds for coughs, colds and sleep contain similar chemicals. Yet patients don't read labels and don't know this. So for instance they will repeatedly take one form of "PM" med and if it doesn't work, they try another name brand not knowing that they are double dosing with diphenhydramine also known as Benedryl®.

The FDA finally caught on to parents overdosing infants and toddlers on cough and cold medicines because babies were dying from overdoses. But how many are still overdosing young children by giving them one name brand and when it doesn't stop the cough, they give them another brand of the same basic medication?

Let us take this opportunity to make the problem well known. A talented young man died way too young. As his father requests, let's use his example to educate the public that medications can be deadly even if they are prescribed by a physician or other health care practitioner.

Nurses need to educate patients to Read labels and ask questions and to use one pharmacy and make one physician responsible to oversee all of their medications!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

ANA Endorses Senator Clinton for President

The American Nurses Association which represents the interests of the 2.9 million nurses in the U.S. has been endorsing presidential candidates since 1984. Last week, the ANA endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

According to the press release, ANA President Rebecca M. Patton MSN, RN, CNOR, stated, "Too many Americans must do without high quality health care, and this country deserves a president that will make health system reform a priority."

Last week, Patton criticized President Bush for giving so little focus to health care in his State of the Union Address.

Nurses have repeatedly said that health reform is one issue, but it will not succeed unless we have the workforce of nurses and physicians to support the increased need of an increasing and aging population. Senator Clinton has shown support for nurses, and states that she will "continue to support efforts to attract and retain qualified nurses, especially in rural and urban areas, and to improve working conditions."

One thing is for certain, no matter which candidates succeed in running for President, nurses need to continue to make health care and nursing major campaign issues for both parties and follow through to see that campaign promises become a reality in the next administration.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Does Flight Nursing Appeal to You?

I have often been asked about Flight Nursing and how to find more information on this field. Resources have been far and few between, but I recently discovered a flight nurse who blogs about her adventures and is in the process of posting more information about this exciting field of nursing.

Please enjoy her blog and subscribe to the RSS feed or bookmark it. She has a lot of valuable information to share with nurses and those who desire to become nurses!

And while you're exploring: Emergiblog has a great edition of Grand Rounds, Volume 4, Number 19 this week with links to many fascinating nurse blogs.