AACN Launches Nurse Leadership Program, Study Finds Nurses in Poor Health Make More Errors, and Other Nursing News

Nurse leadership team working together in full infectious control attire during the Covid-19 outbreak

The AACN is launching a nurse leadership and innovation program in which a cohort of cardiac nurses will participate. A new study finds that critical care nurses who are in poor physical and mental health make significantly more medical errors. Podcast host Beth Schenk, RN, discusses environmental health issues with other nurses from around the country. Read on for more nursing news and insights.

Cardiac nurses to participate in leadership and innovation program provided by the AACN

A cardiac-focused cohort of nurses will participate in a nurse leadership and innovation program based on their care of underserved critically ill patients.

The participating nurses are on staff at 10 hospitals across the country. The program is being provided by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). According to AACN officials, the program is free to hospitals and funded through a $200,000 grant from Edwards Lifesciences Foundation and its Every Heartbeat Matters initiative. The grant-funded program requires that the patient population of selected cardiac surgery critical care and/or progressive care units comprise a significant proportion of patients from underserved populations, with an emphasis on Black communities in the United States.

During the 12-month all-virtual nurse leadership and innovation program, teams of nurses from selected units will identify high-priority patient-care challenges and then develop, implement, and evaluate solutions that result in quantifiable improvements. The program includes monthly education sessions and ongoing consultation and mentoring by AACN faculty and an online conference where participants present their results to hospital leaders.

“AACN is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Edwards Lifesciences Foundation, these hospitals and their nurses to uncover solutions that specifically target healthcare disparity gaps,” said Dana Woods, chief executive officer of the AACN. “This cohort’s focus on underserved cardiac surgery patients will empower an even broader community of nurses to make their optimal contribution.”

Edwards Lifesciences Foundation identifies underserved people as “those who have a health disparity as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and lack awareness of, or access to, medically appropriate healthcare.”

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Study of critical-care nurses finds poor health contributes to errors

A study led by the Ohio State University College of Nursing has found that critical-care nurses who are in poor physical and mental health reported significantly more medical errors than those nurses in better health.

The study, which was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, also found that “nurses who perceived that their worksite was very supportive of their well-being were twice as likely to have better physical health.”

The nationwide survey found that about two in five critical-care nurses reported depressive symptoms while more than half experienced anxiety. More than 60% rated their physical health at a 5 or lower on a scale of 1–10.

Study findings are expected to be published in May.

Podcast spotlight: Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast

Host Beth Schenk, RN, a nurse and environmental health nurse champion, discusses environmental health issues with other nurses from around the country who are leading the profession in addressing these types of topics. Weekly episodes of the Nurses for Healthy Environments Podcast feature nurses who are committed to making changes that impact the world in an attempt to make it a healthier place for everyone.

The most recent episode, “Creative Caring for Communities,” includes guest Dr. Robin Evans, MD, an associate professor at University of Washington Tacoma’s School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership. Evans is focused on upstream actions to transform inequities, especially as they relate to asthma and environmental justice and trauma-informed nursing practice. He is co-editor of an upcoming special issue of Health Promotion Practice on photovoice—a method for empowering communities for transformative change. As a community-based nurse researcher, he has also worked extensively with Black, Indigenous, People of Color for community transformation and environmental justice, including a nine-year community-based participatory research partnership with the Mujeres Latinas Apoyando la Comunidad, a group of new immigrant mothers of children with asthma.

The podcast can be accessed via Apple Podcasts.

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