August 6, 2021

U.S. Healthcare Ranks Last Among Wealthy Countries

According to a report released this week, the U.S. has again ranked last in healthcare standards. It has trended toward the bottom in all seven studies the Commonwealth Fund has conducted since 2004. Categories include access to healthcare, care equity, and care outcomes, among others. The U.S. is the only country out of the 11 wealthiest countries surveyed that does not provide universal health insurance coverage. While this recent report does not fully report the impact of COVID-19, future reflection may provide more strengths and weaknesses of each country's healthcare response to COVID-19. Read more

A nurse's most challenging year yet —

"I don’t think most Americans realized what it was they asked of nurses last year. It was easy to call us heroes, but far harder to understand what we were put through at the bedside. Nursing in COVID times, both then and now as it continues, is being forced to bear witness to a cavalcade of preventable tragedy." The above is from Cassandra Alexander, RN, who recently published a book, Year of the Nurse: A Covid-19 Pandemic Memoir. She shares personal stories from working the bedside during a pandemic, and all the subsequent challenges—physical, mental, and emotional—that she's had to deal with and overcome since then. It's not a light read, but it may resonate strongly with you and remind you that you're not alone. Read more

Federal government extends enrollment for special healthcare plans —

Earlier this year, Congress implemented a change in response to the pandemic that made healthcare free for many Americans. For those who are uninsured, unemployed, and/or in need of financial support, a special enrollment period continues until August 15. Through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, individuals can sign up for one of multiple health plans that don't charge a monthly premium. These plans include Medicaid, various "bronze" plans, and others. The hope is that these options will provide ways for low-income and struggling Americans to gain better access to healthcare plans and solutions that they need. Whether some of these plans will continue indefinitely is undecided. Read more

Sleep apnea can double odds of sudden death —

New research from a team at Penn State University and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that sleep apnea can double an individual's odds of sudden death. From an increased risk of high blood pressure to coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure, "This [study] adds to the growing body of evidence that highlights the importance of screening, diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea," said Dr. Kannan Ramar, past president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The findings highlight the importance of acknowledging the widespread and often undiagnosed condition that has become a growing public health concern. Read more

Coronavirus Updates

New York City to require proof of vaccination at establishments —

On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York will be the first major city in the U.S. to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for entrance to indoor dining, gyms, music concerts, and performances. The requirement pertains to guests of these locales as well as the employees who work there, and it applies to everyone, whether a NYC resident or otherwise. People can present proof of vaccination through their actual vaccination card, Excelsior phone app, or NY's vaccine pass. Without proof of vaccination, people will be denied entry. While New York City is the first city in the U.S. to require proof of vaccination, this new mandate sets a precedent for other metropolitan cities across the country. Read more

Head of WHO calls for pause on vaccine booster shots —

The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Wednesday a moratorium on administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. He asked that wealthier countries that have far outpaced the developing world in vaccination numbers to pause to allow doses to be available in countries where fewer people have received their first dose. Additionally, as the science is still out regarding the efficacy of booster shots, the organization awaits more evidence before promoting further booster-related suggestions. Read more

Upcoming Events

8/10, 3pm PDT: Nursing in the Wild: Basic Survival Skills —

Would you survive in the wild? We are partnering with the Wilderness Medical Society for an event to teach nurses basic survival skills. Join Dr. Todd Miner, Senior Instructor and Director of Education at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, for a fascinating survival case study. Dr. Miner, who taught survival for many years in Alaska, will give you a chance to save yourself and your friends in a realistic survival situation. You'll then review the "eight steps to survival." All nurses are invited to this event, just make sure you RSVP!

Clockin' Out ✌️

Not sure what makes the best travel nurses? We don’t want you to just get that first travel assignment, we want you to absolutely THRIVE while you are there. Travel nursing pros Kailin Haugh, RN, & Jeri Ford, RN, shared what it takes to be successful, on and off shift, as a travel nurse. See what they had to say!