The Top 10 Nursing Stories of 2010

In the next few years, we will look back at 2010 and remember it as the year that healthcare began to change. The issues in nursing have been just as important and profound. 2010 had the leaders in nursing fighting to ensure nurses’ involvement as healthcare goes through many changes. Following is a sampling of some of the nursing stories that were covered in 2010, but this is only a sample as it would be difficult to mention all the headlines in the nursing field.

1. Has the Nursing Shortage Disappeared?

Around the country, new graduate nurses have reported difficulties in not only finding an open position in their specialty of choice, but many found it hard to find an opening at all. Nursing was always thought of as a recession-proof career and the nursing shortage would guarantee employment. Is the end of the nursing shortage just an illusion created by hiring freezes and retirement being postponed by older nurses?

2. Nursing’s Growing Role

The nurses of yesteryear who wore white caps and uniforms are long gone. Today’s nurses are decked out in scrubs with bare heads and they are increasingly well educated. Nurses today are schooled in critical thinking as well as clinical skills. They care for patients with increasingly complicated care needs while having shorter lengths of stay. To be successful today, a nurse needs to be well-educated and well-trained.

3. Ten Ways to Increase Nurses’ Time at the Bedside

Bedside nurses are involved in non-patient care tasks for a quarter of their shift. Every 12 hour shift has at least three hours of it spent on paperwork and other non-patient tasks. Healthcare organizations look at how nurses can spend more time with their patients.

4. ‘Onboard’ New Nurses to Prevent them from Jumping Ship

Onboarding is an extensive orientation process of embedding new employees into the culture to make sure that not only are they productive but also emotionally invested in the organization.

5. Nurse Residency Programs Pay for Themselves

Similar to onboarding, nurse residency programs help new graduates make the tough transition from school to practice. The goal is to continue education and mentoring to help novice nurses become competent practitioners.

6. Stop Losing Experienced Nurses

The nursing workforce is aging and if experience nurses continue to leave the workforce, it could create a crisis. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has launched a national program to find out what will keep experienced nurses in hospital settings.

7. New Nurse Testing Standard Raises Bar

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing raised the passing standard on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses to make sure that new nurses are adequately prepared to take on the growing needs of sicker patients.

8. Better Nurse-Patient Ratios Could Save Thousands of Lives Annually, says study

If California’s mandatory nurse-patient ratio had been in effect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey hospitals in 2006, those states would have seen 10.6% and 13.9% fewer deaths among general surgical patients. That would have meant 468 lives could have been saved.

9. Nurse-on-Nurse Hostility Remains an Issue

Many in nursing are working to change the culture and put a stop to common behaviors such as back-stabbing, intimidation and sabotage. Organizations are offering strategies on how to stop these negative behaviors.

10. Nurse Anesthetists Say They Practice Safely Without Physician Supervision

Nurse anesthetists are defending their ability to administer anesthesia without physician supervision. Representatives of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists say studies have shown that certified registered nurse anesthetists perform the service the equal safety, or even more safely, than anesthesiologists.

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