Category Archives: Health Care Workers

2013 Healthcare Workforce Report

Source: South Dakota Department of Health, Health Care Workforce Center, 2013

Recognizing the importance of a highly trained and available health care workforce, the South Dakota Department of Health established the Health Care Workforce Center to help address the health care workforce needs of the State. The purpose of the Center is to function as a clearinghouse for health care workforce-related data and information. The Center is also designed to develop and implement programs and projects that assist individuals, agencies and facilities in their efforts to ensure a competent and qualified health care workforce to meet the health needs of all South Dakota residents. Based on population and employment statistics, projections indicate that thousands of health care workers will be needed in the health care industry in the next decade. This profile of health care professions serves as an aid in planning for the health care workforce needs in the future. The report draws upon labor statistics, educational preparation data, and current health professions’ licensing registries. The report profiles the health care workforce projected needs in the future and workforce distribution by geography, age, and profession. The report is designed to be used by policy-makers in the development and coordination of health care education and recruitment programs to meet the health care workforce needs of the future.

Trends in the Earnings of Male and Female Health Care Professionals in the United States, 1987 to 2010

Source: Seth A. Seabury, Amitabh Chandra, Anupam B. Jena, JAMA Internal Medicine, Research Letter, Online First, Published online September 2, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Nearly 40 years after the adoption of the Title IX Amendments of the US Civil Rights Act, women account for almost 50% of US medical students and more than one-third of all physicians. Historically, female physicians have earned considerably less than male physicians, though in the 1990s much of this was attributable to gender differences in specialty choice and hours worked. However, more recent data suggest that female physicians currently earn less than male physicians even after adjustment for specialty, practice type, and hours worked. Salary differences between men and women currently exist among physician researchers as well. This raises questions about whether the gender gap in earnings among US physicians has closed over time, particularly compared with the earnings gap for other health care professionals and workers overall. Comparing earnings of male and female physicians over time is important in assessing the impact of policies to promote gender equality among physicians.

Immunizing health care workers against influenza: A glimpse into the challenges with voluntary programs and considerations for mandatory polices

Source: Susan Quach, Jennifer A. Pereira, Jeffrey C. Kwong, Sherman Quan, Lois Crowe, Maryse Guay, Julie A. Bettinger, American Journal of Infection Control, Article in Press, August 23, 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Vaccination of health care workers (HCWs) is an important patient safety initiative. It prevents influenza infection among patients and reduces staff illness and absenteeism. Despite these benefits, HCW influenza immunization uptake is low. Therefore, strategies to achieve high immunization coverage in HCWs, barriers to uptake, and perceptions of mandatory influenza immunization policies were discussed in key informant interviews with influenza immunization program planners…. Participants used a variety of promotional and educational activities, and many vaccine delivery approaches, to support HCW immunization programs. Barriers to achieving high coverage in HCWs included misconceptions about the safety and effectiveness of the influenza vaccine, negative personal experiences associated with the vaccine, and antivaccine sentiments. Participants mentioned mandatory influenza immunizations as a solution to low coverage. However, they identified challenges with this approach such as obtaining support from stakeholders, enforcement, and limiting personal autonomy….
Participants believed immunization coverage in health care organizations will continue to be suboptimal using existing program strategies. Although participants discussed mandatory immunization as a way to improve uptake, potential obstacles will need to be addressed for this to be implemented successfully.

Health Care Workers: Unprotected Insufficient Inspections and Standards Leave Safety Risks Unaddressed

Source: Public Citizen, July 17, 2013

On March 8, 2012, John Shick walked into Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic at the University of Pittsburgh with one motive on his mind, to cause harm to others. Upon his arrival, Shick opened fire in the lobby. His shooting rampage left one person dead and six others wounded. Although we cannot know for certain, the incident might have been prevented if the Western Psychiatric Institute were required to have a plan to prevent violence, as recommended nearly two decades ago by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But OSHA never issued a rule to require employers to create such a plan. The Western Psychiatric Institute, in turn, had no “policy or procedure that specifically addresses the risk of patient on staff violence,” according to a draft report on the shooting. The insufficiency of OSHA’s actions to prevent workplace violence is emblematic of overall shortcomings in the agency’s efforts to protect health care workers. The government’s responsibility, as written in law, is “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions.” But OSHA is not fulfilling that obligation for health care workers, who suffer more injuries than workers in any other sector in the United States. In 2010, for instance, health care employers reported 653,900 workplace injuries and illnesses, more than 152,000 more than the next most afflicted industry sector, manufacturing.

Joint Commission Alert: Medical Device Alarm Safety in Hospitals

Source: The Joint Commission, April 8, 2013

The constant beeping of alarms and an overabundance of information transmitted by medical devices such as ventilators, blood pressure monitors and ECG (electrocardiogram) machines is creating “alarm fatigue” that puts hospital patients at serious risk, according to a Sentinel Event Alert issued today by The Joint Commission.

Hospital-Based Shootings in the United States: 2000 to 2011

Source: Gabor D. Kelen, Christina L. Catlett, Joshua G. Kubit, Yu-Hsiang Hsieh, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 60, Issue 6, December 2012

From the abstract:
Workplace violence in health care settings is a frequent occurrence. Emergency departments (EDs) are considered particularly vulnerable. Gunfire in hospitals is of particular concern; however, information about such workplace violence is limited. Therefore, we characterize US hospital-based shootings from 2000 to 2011… Of 9,360 search “hits,” 154 hospital-related shootings were identified, 91 (59%) inside the hospital and 63 (41%) outside on hospital grounds. Shootings occurred in 40 states, with 235 injured or dead victims. Perpetrators were overwhelmingly men (91%) but represented all adult age groups. The ED environs were the most common site (29%), followed by the parking lot (23%) and patient rooms (19%). Most events involved a determined shooter with a strong motive as defined by grudge (27%), suicide (21%), “euthanizing” an ill relative (14%), and prisoner escape (11%). Ambient society violence (9%) and mentally unstable patients (4%) were comparatively infrequent. The most common victim was the perpetrator (45%). Hospital employees composed 20% of victims; physician (3%) and nurse (5%) victims were relatively infrequent. Event characteristics that distinguished the ED from other sites included younger perpetrator, more likely in custody, and unlikely to have a personal relationship with the victim (ill relative, grudge, coworker). In 23% of shootings within the ED, the weapon was a security officer’s gun taken by the perpetrator. Case fatality inside the hospital was much lower in the ED setting (19%) than other sites (73%)…Although it is likely that not every hospital-based shooting was identified, such events are relatively rare compared with other forms of workplace violence. The unpredictable nature of this type of event represents a significant challenge to hospital security and effective deterrence practices because most perpetrators proved determined and a significant number of shootings occur outside the hospital buildings…
With Gun Violence On The Rise, Hospitals Train Their Staff On How To Survive Shootings
Source: Tara Culp-Ressler, Think Progress, July 17, 2013

Why Nurses Need Whistleblower Protection

Source: Mary Beth Thomas, Jim William, Journal of Nursing Regulation, Vol. 2 no. 2, October 2012
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Boards of nursing and professional associations have a strong belief that nursing practice must emphasize patient advocacy and the importance of the nurse’s role in the protection and safety of patients. Though nurses are educated about their responsibilities regarding advocacy and safety, many have difficulty navigating workplace impediments that restrict their duty to advocate for patients. This was not the issue for two Winkler County, Texas, nurses who reported concerns about a physician’s dangerous medical practice to the Texas Board of Medicine. Not only were the nurses fired from their long-standing jobs for reporting the physician’s unsafe practice, they were also criminally indicted for a third-degree felony. This article reviews the case of these nurses and the subsequent legislation initiated by the Texas Nurses Association and supported by the Texas Board of Nursing to prevent such occurrences in the future.

State Regulatory Oversight of Certified Nursing Assistants and Resident Outcomes

Source: Alison M. Trinkoff, Meg Johantgen, Nancy Lerner, Carla L. Storr, Kihye Han, Kathleen McElroy, Journal of Nursing Regulation, Vol. 3 No. 4, January 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This study aimed to describe state regulatory certified nursing assistant (CNA) oversight in two domains—use of registry or licensing for credentialing and initial CNA training and continuing education (CE) requirements—and to evaluate whether CNA oversight is associated with resident outcomes in nursing homes. This cross-sectional secondary analysis combined 2004 data on state-level regulatory requirements for CNA oversight, training, and CE with nursing home resident outcomes data collected in 2004 from 16,125 U.S. facilities in 49 states. Though 26 states required CNAs to have more initial training hours than the federal requirement of 75 hours, only four states required additional yearly CE hours to maintain CNA certification. The combination of increased initial training and annual CE hours was significantly associated with nursing homes reporting lower antidepressant and antipsychotic use and lower average medication use. Use of a registry or licensing board for credentialing was significantly related to lower catheter use, and CNA licensure was significantly associated with lower odds of falls. Findings suggest that regulatory modifications could be beneficial to improve resident care outcomes in nursing homes.