July 30, 2021

Has the Chronic Nursing Shortage Become Acute?

There has always been a shortage of nurses in the United States, but now it's likely to get much worse. Prior to COVID-19, it was already a challenge to fill many high-demand nursing positions. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics had predicted almost 200,000 new RN openings each year through 2029. Now, as Kendra McMillan, MPH, RN, Senior Policy Advisor at the American Nurses Association (ANA), says, "the pandemic’s demand on the healthcare system has further exacerbated a long-standing projection that has burdened our nursing workforce.” While one threat comes from a retiring generation of nurses, another comes from an increasing decline in the mental health of working nurses. From burnout to environmental stress to workplace violence, many nurses—even younger members of the community—are feeling less committed to the profession. However, there are a few solutions available today: increasing the rate of hire for travel nurses, providing more hiring bonuses, as well as tuition reimbursement and loan repayment, are all examples of actions hospitals and institutions can take to limit their own deficits in nursing staff. However, larger, more systemic changes will likely need to take place before any more permanent outcome are reflected. Read more

Thank you, Ebi —

Nurse leader and friend, Ebi Porbeni (also known as @nurselifern and Ebi Eats), sadly passed away from leukemia on July 20. He was not only a leading figure on Instagram and other social media platforms within the nursing world, he was also an incredibly passionate and selfless individual, especially when it came to advocating for others. As Nurse Jeri shared, Ebi did everything: he posted an endless stream of hilarious nursing memes, bought a billboard during Nurses Week so people could call a hotline to thank nurses, supported science and BIPOC through his platform, and even created a podcast for nurses to share their own personal stories. Thank you, Ebi. We'll never forget you or all of the work you did for the entire nursing community. Read more

Mental health at the forefront of the Olympics —

Mental health is once again the main topic in the headlines following Simone Biles’ withdrawal from the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Her decision was followed by overwhelming support from her fellow athletes and fans alike. Biles’ former Olympic teammate, Aly Railman, spoke with CNN expressing sympathy for the pressure Biles was under, as well as admiration for the courage it took to make the decision that was best for her. This goes to show that even some of the world's top athletes can struggle with challenges to their mental health, and we must do more to prevent threats to positive mental well-being from gaining more ground. Read more

Home health care for seniors in short supply —

For nearly two decades, experts have warned of the impending shortage of nursing assistants and home health aids as millions of baby boomers reach their retirement and senior years. In places like Maine, this is particularly palpable, as more than 20% of the state's residents are 65 and older. The problem, however difficult to address, is remarkably simple: there are too few healthcare workers. Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of Leading Age, emphasizes that this is a national dilemma: "Millions of older adults are unable to access the affordable care and services that they so desperately need." This is mostly because many state and federal reimbursement program are simply inadequate to cover the growing costs of quality care. One potential solution, says Joanne Spetz, director of the Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care at the University of California-San Francisco, is to increase resources going toward training, recruiting, and retaining workers (including more benefits and opportunities for career growth). Read more

Coronavirus Updates

CDC changes mask guidelines —

As the Delta variant and COVID-19 cases continue to rebound in many areas, the CDC has revised its former guidance on wearing masks. Tuesday, in a reversal of its previous position, the CDC is now suggesting that some fully vaccinated individuals still wear masks while indoors. This is particularly the case if they live in areas with significant or high rates of spreading virus. Unfortunately, much of the country currently falls into this category. "This was not a decision that was taken lightly," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC's director. Dr. Walensky understands that while this recommendation may be frustrating to some, it still seems to be the case that even vaccinated people can (albeit rarely) get infected and spread the virus further. For now, it still seems better to play it safe. Let's keep masking up. Read more

A connection between COVID-19 and increased risk of Alzheimer's —

Researchers at the University of Texas San Antonio are trying to better understand why some individuals recovering from COVID-19 seem to have persisting cognitive problems. The focus? How these persistent problems may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Preliminary research suggests that COVID-19 infection can cause changes that may overlap with those of Alzheimer's. Additionally, Alzheimer's diagnoses seems to be more common in patients in their 60s and 70s who have had severe cases of COVID-19. While the research is still ongoing, Dr. Gabriel de Erausquin, professor of neurology at the university, says, "It's downright scary." Read more

Upcoming Events

8/4, 3pm PDT, Travel Nursing Deep Dive Event: What Makes a Good Travel Nurse? —

So what makes a good travel nurse? Is it your experience, your skill set, or your mindset? Join travel nursing pros Kailin Haugh, RN, & Jeri Ford, RN, as they break down what it takes to be successful, on and off shift, as a travel nurse. All nurses are invited to this event, just make sure you RSVP!

Clockin' Out 💉

Ever heard of the three myths of aesthetic nursing? The first is that there's a required certification or class you need to take to get started. (False!) Here is @aesthetic.nurse.arie to share the other two with you!