We ran nearly 60 original blog posts last year, including everything from profiles of our most successful students to recaps of new studies that might affect nursing practice. We also reported heavily on three industry trends that defined the year: various aspects of the new legislation affecting health care (Affordable Care Act, HITECH Act), the push for nurses to earn a BSN, and the focus on stemming an epidemic of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Since these hot topics are shaping the entire future of health care, we’ve nominated them for “Best of 2013” status.
Infection prevention initiatives
HAIs were a big challenge throughout the industry as acute care and long term care facilities alike worked to keep patients safe from pathogens like MRSA and C. difficile. The focus on HAIs has intensified due to the new Medicare reimbursement policies that stipulate hospitals must now absorb the costs of treating certain types of infections acquired within the hospital. To help you keep your patients safe, we ran posts on each of the three most common types of HAIs, highlighting nursing-specific interventions that can help reduce the incidence. And since hand hygiene is the basis of all infection prevention initiatives, we reported on some of the ways hospitals are working to increase compliance rates. If you missed these posts, the links below will open them in a new window:
- Preventing Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections
- Preventing Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia
- Preventing Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections
- The Basics of Hand Hygiene
- Creative New Programs Aim to Improve Hand Hygiene Compliance
We also announced, on the blog, an original e-book that we’re providing as a free download. It’s a handy reference guide that consolidates and organizes key info on preventing HAIs from leading organizations like the CDC, WHO, SHEA, IDSA, and APIC. It was written with nurses in mind, and is focused on nursing interventions that are proven to make a difference in infection rates – if you haven’t already, please download it here.
Health care reform
We covered the basics of the ACA, including the hospital readmissions reduction program that is changing the field of case management. And we covered the HITECH Act, which is the legislation that created incentives for hospitals to step up their efforts to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs) and implement information technology according to meaningful use guidelines. You can look at back at some of these important posts here:
- Mythbusters: Clearing Up Misconceptions About Health Care Reform
- The EMR and Meaningful Use: A Nursing Perspective
- Patient Engagement: Empowering Consumers Through the Patient Portal
- Transitions of Care: Reducing Readmissions Through Careful Planning
[programpush poi=”RNBSN”]The BSN trend
Since nursing education is, after all, what we do, our blog explored the industry forces and trends that are driving the trend for more hospitals to hire only BSN-prepared or require their existing nursing workforce to obtain a BSN.
Many nurses who enter an RN-to-BSN program do not believe, at first, that their new BSN degree will change the way they practice nursing. Yet several studies show that these nurses quickly found that education had unexpected benefits. If you’ve recently become aware of a distant rumbling within the industry regarding the push for nurses to get a BSN degree – or have noticed it’s getting louder, at or closer to, the facility at which you work – take a look at this collection of blog posts:
- Interpreting the Factors Behind the Push for BSN-Prepared Nurses
- The Push for the BSN: Nurses Who Went Back to School Say It Was Worth It
- Considering School Culture: How to Choose the Right BSN Program for You
The posts above also include links to two complimentary downloads that might be of use to you if you’re considering an RN-to-BSN program. Our BSN Readiness Worksheet will help you assess the factors affecting your own ability to succeed in an RN-to-BSN program. And our BSN Program Comparison Worksheet will allow you to compare side-by-side the schools you are looking at.
Happy New Year from American Sentinel University! Be sure to visit our blog again in 2014!