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New and Noteworthy
A forum for discussion on recent news and developments in healthcare and the NP field.
Thursday, March 19, 2015

Researchers from Brigham Young University are suggesting that spending less time alone will help you live longer. Loneliness and social isolation are contributing factors to early mortality, spanning all age groups. The data also suggests that the link between loneliness and early mortality is higher in younger individuals as compared to their older counterparts (see Loneliness and Social Isolation as Risk Factors for Mortality A Meta-Analytic Review).

"Not only are we at the highest recorded rate of living alone across the entire century, but we're at the highest recorded rates ever on the planet," says study co-author Tim Smith. "With loneliness on the rise, we are predicting a possible loneliness epidemic in the future."

Earlier research from the study's lead author, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, places the risk of loneliness-related mortality in the same category as being an alcoholic or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Furthermore, this new research shows that loneliness can be riskier than obesity.

More than 3 million participants were surveyed regarding loneliness, social isolation, and living alone.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

On a return flight from Paris for her birthday weekend, nurse practitioner April Lopez jumped into action when the pilot asked for a medical professional's assistance. The American Airline's flight from Dallas to the Rio Grande Valley was forced to make an emergency landing in Austin when a gentleman suffering internal bleeding locked himself in the plane's restroom; Lopez had airline staff break the door open to assess the situation. The man was seated on the toilet passing blood.

“I ran to the front, and there was a guy that was about 6'6". He looked like a foreign guy, and he was completely soaked in sweat. I identified myself as a family nurse practitioner. I said ‘sir, how are you doing?’ He said, ‘I need to use the restroom.’ Usually what happens with these guys, they go to the restroom and they have a myocardial infarction in the bathroom and they die. I said, ‘Sir, I'm going to give you ten seconds.’”

Lopez instructed the airline staff that the man was in immediate need for surgery and that he could not be helped on the plane, as he was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver. After the emergency landing, the man was taken to a hospital, the plane was evacuated, and Lopez had a hazmat crew clean up. Lopez believes that there is a lesson that can be learned from this emergency experience: Do not get on a plane if you are sick. 

“He just kept saying, ‘I don't want to die like this. I don't want to die this way.’ I looked at him I said sir, you're not going to die on my shift," Lopez added.


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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

With the perpetually-increasing costs of school paired with a limited number of available healthcare providers (HCPs), doctors are now wondering how much "medicine" is really required to become a successful primary HCP. A new survey shows that 66% of physicians would recommend students pursue careers as nurse practitioners (NPs) as opposed to careers as primary care physicians (PCPs).
"These findings suggest that solving the primary care clinician shortage will require more than simply training a greater number of physicians. Efforts should be aimed at reimagining how the entire primary care workforce should be structured, with one goal of the process being an increase in primary care physicians' career satisfaction. Without a significant shift in how these clinician's view their careers, efforts to bolster the workforce are likely to fall short," said lead author Catherine DesRoches, DrPH.
The survey, conducted in 2012 to 2013 was sent to a random, national sample of roughly 2,000 PCPs, evenly divided between physicians and NPs. Responses showed that 80% of both groups agreed to a national shortage of PCPs, and both professions were more likely to recommend a career as an NP over a physician. Fifty-six percent of physicians recommended their own career while 66% of them recommended careers as NPs. As for the NPs, 88% recommended their own careers while 67% recommended careers as physicians.
What are your thoughts on the numbers? Which career would you recommend to a student? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Nurses now have a revamped set of rules to consider when it comes to ethics. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has updated their code of ethics for the first time since 2001 and have dubbed 2015 as the "year of ethics." The ANA also plans on having numerous activities to support this theme.

“The public places its faith in nurses to practice ethically. A patient’s health, autonomy and even life or death, can be affected by a nurse’s decisions and actions,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “ANA believes it’s important that all nurses practice at the highest ethical level, and therefore, we will be offering a full range of activities to inform and support nurses to achieve that goal in a stressful and ever-changing health care environment.”

The new code of ethics (revised as of January 1) is the result of a four-year revision process based on a review of thousands of comments from nurses. The ANA says that the new code “reflects modern clinical practice and evolving conditions, and fully addresses transformations in health care," with a goal to make the code more efficient. Ethics will also be the theme of National Nurses Week (May 6 to 12).

The code can be found here.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives have written a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell regarding their concerns over an HHS committee's recommendation replacing the lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men to a one-year deferral period post intercourse. Although an improvement from the original lifetime ban, lawmakers still deem the policy to be outdated and discriminatory. Here is an excerpt from the letter:

If we are serious about protecting and enhancing our nation’s blood supply, we must embrace science and reject outdated stereotypes. As such, we urge you to implement a risk-based blood donation policy for MSM, rather than simply another arbitrary time-based deferral. Science has shown us that our current policy is not justified, so we know there is a better path — a path that will make for a safer and more robust blood supply for everyone while also respecting the contributions of all Americans. It is up to us to take it.
The FDA flags gay and bisexual men's organs as high risk even though they are required to be tested for HIV. This is due to outdated regulations of the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was rampant along with misinformation over the disease.
What are your thoughts on the letter to HHS? Do you think the ban should be removed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
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About the Author

Jamesetta (Jamie) A. Newland
Jamesetta (Jamie) A. Newland is a Clinical Associate Professor at New York University College of Nursing where she is the director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. She is also a certified Family Nurse Practitioner in the NYU Nursing Faculty Practice. Her expertise on nurse practitioner education and practice has been sought nationally and internationally. She is the current editor-in-chief of The Nurse Practitioner: The American Journal of Primary Healthcare, the inaugural journal publication for nurse practitioners.