NEW YORK NURSE: November/December 2011
by Alison Munday
In the past 18 years, the American Nurses Credentialing Center has certified 383 U.S. Magnet Hospitals, based on the hospitals’ commitment to and success in providing high quality practice environments for nurses in order to provide high quality patient care. A study published recently in the Journal of Administration finds Magnet Hospitals (MHs) are more likely to have higher rates of adoption of National Quality Forum (NQF) Safe Practices than non-Magnet Hospitals (non-MHs). The NQF is a private non-profit organization that develops and implements a national strategy for healthcare quality management and reporting, and has endorsed 30 evidence-based practices that improve patient safety. The study, conducted by an interdisciplinary team, reviewed data from surveys from 140 MHs and 1,320 non-MHs in 34 regions over three years to determine whether MHs reported higher rates of adopting and implementing NQF Safe Practices; and the characteristics leading to higher adoption and implementation rates. The findings showed MHs tend to have more beds than non-MHs, and are more likely to operate as non-profits and have a lower percentage of Medicaid patients. MHs tended to be better equipped with advanced clinical technologies and had higher percentages of RNs and higher nursing hours per patient-day than non-MHs. Although hospital size and number of Medicaid patients did not have an impact on adoption of safe practices, higher numbers of nurse hours per patient, larger proportions of RNs and high levels of competition with other hospitals were all correlated with higher levels of NQF Safe Practices. The authors did note though that several non-MHs were also successful in adopting and implementing many or all of the NQF Safe Practices, so magnet status is not necessarily a prerequisite for success in adopting NQF Safe Practices.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Serices (HHS) recently announced that the number of participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) has nearly tripled, making more nurses, doctors and other health care providers available to care for underserved communities nationwide. Established in 1972, the NHSC continues to provide financial, professional and educational resources to a wide-array of healthcare providers who bring their skills to areas of the U.S. with limited access to health care. The NHSC Loan Repayment Program provides healthcare providers with an initial tax-free award of up to $60,000 for two years of service in an underserved community and the opportunity to pay off all health professional student loans with continued service. The NHSC Scholarship Program pays tuition, required fees and other education costs for up to four years, and upon graduation, the scholarship recipients serve as primary care providers between two and four years at an NHSC-approved site in a high-need health professional shortage area. According to HHS, 82% of providers continue to serve in high-need areas even after they’ve fulfilled their service commitment. There are currently more than 10,000 NHSC members serving communities nationwide, and more than 17,000 NHSC-approved rural and urban sites identified across the country, from Aberdeen, Washington and McClusky, North Dakota to Akron, Ohio and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, visit www.NHSC.hrsa.gov.
Funded by 27 national nursing organizations, a systematic review published in the September/October 2011 issue of Nursing Economics shows that Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) garner similar and, in some ways, better patient outcomes than their physician counterparts. This special report reinforces that APRNs provide effective, high quality patient care and play an important role in improving the quality of care in the United States. The article, “Advanced Practice Nurse Outcomes 1990-2008: A Systematic Review,” is available online for free. Dr. Robin Newhouse and co-authors from the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Catholic University compare APRN processes and outcomes to those of physician providers. Sixty-nine studies published between 1990 and 2008 were analyzed, and 28 outcomes were summarized for nurses practicing in APRN roles, including nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and clinical nurse specialists. To download the article, see https://www.nursingeconomics.net/ce/2013/article3001021.pdf.