National Nurses Week is being observed May 6-12. This week-long celebration recognizes the contributions of nurses and helps raise awareness about the role nurses play as healthcare leaders and trusted advisers in meeting the healthcare needs of the American people. This year, we also thank nurses for their efforts in implementing the Health Insurance Marketplace and Medicaid expansion and look ahead to how nurses will continue to improve patient outcomes in the evolving field of primary care.
The NURSE Corps consists of 2,559 nurses: 1,475 registered nurses, 480 nurse practitioners, 467 faculty, 120 registered nurse assistants, 11 certified nurse midwifes and 6 psychiatric nurse specialists.
Together, NURSE Corps members help build healthier communities in urban, rural and frontier areas by supporting nurses and nursing students committed to working in communities with inadequate access to care. This is something we celebrate not just during Nurses Week, but throughout the year!
For more information on Nurses Week please visit the HRSA Nurses Week webpage and check out the HRSA Nurses Week infographic for nursing related facts. Share your Nurses Week events and post an #IAMANURSE selfie on the NURSE Corps Facebook!
HRSA is pleased to announce the publication of a special Public Health Reports supplement entitled "Nursing in 3D: Workforce Diversity, Health Disparities, and Social Determinants of Health" which was developed as a follow up to a summit by the same name which HRSA hosted in April 2012. The supplement features articles authored by 3D Summit speakers on the potential impact of linking nursing workforce diversity, health disparities, and social determinants of health. It advances scholarly inquiry around the intersecting goals of increased workforce diversity, fair and equal access to quality health care and healthcare resources, elimination of health disparities, and achieving health equity.
Achieving health equity for all requires a collective effort across all disciplines and all sectors (including those outside of health care). This supplement features positive content on how far diversity in the nursing workforce has evolved, and how HRSA’s programs are continually advancing for future generations.
Over 8 million Americans have signed up for coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces since October 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. For many Americans that have never had private health insurance before or if it’s been a while, they may want to learn about using their coverage and improving their health using the Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You. In addition, please share the following resources with your patients and help them understand how their new coverage can help cover medical costs for services like filling a prescription at the pharmacy, going to the doctor and getting emergency care.
Here are some additional tips you can share with your patients:
Please encourage your patients to visit Healthcare.gov to learn more about coverage options and the next enrollment period, which will open on November 15, 2014 and close on February 15, 2015. Qualifying life events can make individuals eligible to enroll for coverage outside of the enrollment cycle. Examples of qualifying life events are moving to a new State, certain changes in your income, and changes in your family size (for example, if you marry, divorce, or have a baby).
Do you know of a nursing student or individual interested in nursing who has the passion and commitment to work in an underserved community? Are they looking for financial support to help them obtain their academic pursuit and dreams? If yes, then the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program is an opportunity that we would like for you to share with them.
Help spread the word by posting information about the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program on your favorite social media network, sharing your experience as a NURSE Corps participant with students and faculty at your alma mater, or directing students to the NURSE Corps Scholarship Program website which features information about the program. Also consider sharing a member story video featuring Kay Smullen, a registered nurse and NURSE Corps Scholar who is serving patients and her community in Baltimore, MD.
Here is some other information to share with potential applicants:
Thanks in advance for supporting your NURSE Corps!
Don’t just tell people about your support for the NURSE Corps programs – show them! There are new web badges available for members, approved facilities, and supporters to have a visual identification that demonstrates your relationship with the NURSE Corps. Visit the new NURSE Corps Web Badges webpage to find the badge that fits your needs and then add it to your websites, social media profiles, email signatures and other communication materials today!
Rebekah Salt, NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program-Nurse Faculty, San Antonio, TX, University of Texas, Health Science Center
“I have been working in nursing for 29 years, and I still love what I am doing. That’s pretty great, isn’t it?” says Rebekah Salt, a faculty NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program participant with a chuckle. Rebekah started her career as a registered nurse in 1983 and worked in a clinical setting for 14 years. Today she remains dedicated to making a difference in underserved communities, and is doing that by helping support and shape future nursing professionals.
While working as a staff nurse in medical intensive care unit in Honolulu, HI, Rebekah realized how important education and prevention were to patient outcomes. She decided to go back to school to pursue her master’s degree in cross-cultural, community health nursing at the University of Washington.
While in graduate school, Rebekah began exploring the links between microcredit (a type of small business loan for low-income populations without collateral, steady employment, and a verifiable credit history) and health. After finishing her master’s degree, Rebekah intended to return to clinical practice, but she realized that she had more questions than answers and decided to pursue her doctorate. “I really got interested in the social determinants of health. How do things like education, race, socioeconomic status, and employment affect health?”
In her PhD program at the University of Washington, Rebekah focused on how participating in microcredit programs affected the health of low-income women starting small businesses. Upon graduation, she continued that research focus and began teaching the next generation of nurses as a tenure-track faculty member at the University of New Mexico.
Rebekah’s education meant she was left with a substantial amount of debt. “I left school with big student loans. I wanted to work in academia because I wanted to focus on research and teaching, but I needed to be able to survive financially so I started looking at options. I got an email about the NURSE Corps to my faculty address. I researched it, and it seemed like a good fit. As a recipient of the program, I have been able to continue my research, teach, and have a quality of life.”
When it comes to teaching, it is important to Rebekah that her students understand that caring for patients is more than looking at the physiological. “We want students to think critically and to imagine health beyond disease and illness. For example, factors like your ZIP code, culture, and employment matter, and they affect health. There is a broader picture. Patients come from and return to a community.”
Rebekah considers it an honor to have a part in shaping the next generation of nurses and is passionate about her research. She hopes that showing students that broader picture will hopefully inspire them to not only be better, more culturally aware nurses but also to work with underserved populations. But she realizes community health is not for everyone. “You will be most happy if you can figure out how to focus on work that gives you purpose in life.” And as someone who still feels fulfilled by her 29 year career, Rebekah has clearly taken her own advice.
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An Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) toolkit to help doctors, nurses and medical office staff focus on preventing problems associated with managing lab tests and results is now available. This free resource helps improve processes for tracking, reporting, and following up with patients after medical laboratory tests and avoiding diagnostic errors.
The toolkit offers step-by-step instructions on how to evaluate an office testing process, identify areas where improvement is needed and address those areas. Practical tools are included that can be used to assess office readiness, plan activities, engage patients, audit efforts and incorporate electronic health records. The toolkit also includes a template for practices to ensure that laboratory test results are communicated effectively to patients in English or Spanish.
Follow @AHRQNews on Twitter and look for the #PSAW2014 hashtag.
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