Nurse Practitioner Field Is Booming

According to a statement from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the number of nurse practitioners (NPs) has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, increasing from 106,000 to 205,000 as of December 31, 2014. During the 2012-2013 academic year, more than 15,000 students graduated from nurse practitioner programs. According to the President of AANP, the growth of nurse practitioners is directly linked to the nation’s “skyrocketing demand for high-quality, accessible care.” The challenge now will be “rightsizing state and federal laws” so that patients will have full and direct access to nurse practitioners.

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Mandatory Staff Hours & Better High-Acuity Care May Improve QOL In LTC Facilities

According to recently published research findings, nursing home staffing patterns and admission trends are some of the most important factors driving residents’ quality-of-life over time. For nursing homes that show declining or mixed results in quality-of-life measures over time, increasing staff activity hours seem to make a significant positive difference. In nursing homes that are already improving on quality-of-life indicators, registered nurse hours per resident has a positive association with quality-of-life. Researchers believe that higher-performing facilities may be more adept at engaging RNs with residents on a personal level and that these facilities may also have a higher number of RN hours to begin, allowing nurses to facilitate activities and engagement on a greater extent. On the other hand, declining facilities were associated with more acute resident populations, suggesting a “decreasing capacity to handle more severe case mix over time.”

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Study: RNs Increasingly Delay Retirement

According to a new study by the RAND Corporation, the “current number of working registered nurses has surpassed expectations in part due to the number of baby-boomer RNs delaying retirement.” The RN workforce reached 2.7 million in 2012 and has continued growing. Nurses delaying retirement accounted for an extra 136,000 RNs in 2012. RAND researchers note that shifts in retirement benefits, as well as “economic uncertainty in general,” may have contributed to the decision to extend their careers.The surge in RNs could have significant implications on patient care; many RNs in their 60s often choose to leave hospital-based positions for primary care posts. ACOs, which are formed to better manage patient care, could benefit from the rise in RNs who seek non-hospital jobs. Specifically, the experience RNs have managing and coordinating care can help with what an ACO is trying to do.

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AARP Study: How Your State Rates In Terms Of LTC

Everyone in the baby-boom generation will turn 80 in just 12 years and many of them will need some type of long-term care. According to a new AARP study, that care could vary tremendously in cost and quality depending on where they live. The number of family caregivers is declining and in 2010, there were potentially seven caregivers for each person 80 years old or older. By the time all the baby boomers reach 80, there will be only four potential caregivers for each of them and those numbers are expected to decline.

The AARP study looked at 26 different variables in each state, including affordability and access to whether care is delivered in private homes or more expensive nursing homes. The study found that the states that encouraged more care at home scored higher. The states with the highest marks included Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska. The states scoring the worst were Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Kentucky.

According to the study, it’s becoming increasingly common for family members and other caregivers-who are often trained by nurses-to perform some medical tasks like giving injections or treating wounds. Experts suggest it would be beneficial to have national standards for training home care workers. Home care services on average take up 84 percent of the income of a typical older middle-income family, while nursing home care takes up 246 percent.

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AMA Endorse Doc-Led Team-Based Care

According to an article in Forbes, the American Medical Association (AMA) may endorse physician-led team-based care. The AMA would like physicians to serve as the “quarterbacks” of healthcare teams-a stance that is somewhat controversial due to the fact that other healthcare professionals such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners are starting to expand their roles in healthcare. The AMA believes “physician-led care teams” to have the most potential for American healthcare. Other medical professional groups such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners argue that team-based care should instead be “a multi-disciplinary, non-hierarchical collaborative centered around a patient’s needs.”

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National Nurses Week 2014

It’s National Nurses Week!  We would like to take the opportunity to thank and recognize the millions of nurses around the country who serve patients every day with compassion and commitment. Nurses dedicate their lives to taking care of the sick and injured by giving them medication, changing them, planning their recovery, and performing a whole array of tests and procedures.

Thank you, nurses, for your dedication, skills, and love that you share with each patient you meet!

“When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.”

-Anonymous

New Bill Gives NPs More Independence

The Connecticut state House has given final approval to a bill that would give nurse practitioners (NPs) the ability to practice independently of doctors after they work at least three years in collaboration with a physician. The Malloy administration proposed the measure and is expected to sign it.

Currently, NPs can prescribe medication, treat patients, and run their own practice-if they have a collaborative agreement with a licensed physician. Supporters of the bill believe it is a feasible way to expand access to primary care, as demand is only expected to grow. Critics argue that the bill could lower the standard of care and that physicians have more extensive training, which better equips them to treat patients with complex health needs.

Figures show that Connecticut has a high supply of primary care doctors, but also an aging physician population.

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