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Cutting-edge Nursing

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The editors at Accelerated Nursing Degrees decided to research the topic of:

Cutting-edge Nursing

Famous nurses (betcha don't know all of them):

Jeanne Mance: 1644, was North America's first nurse. Oh, and she also helped found Montreal.
Florence Nightingale: 1845, founder of modern American nursing
Clara Barton: organized Red Cross, 1881
Walt Whitman (1819 - 1892): Few people realize that the famous poet was also a volunteer nurse.
Mary Todd Lincoln (1818 - 1882): A nurse during the Civil War.

Then vs. Now (very very high tech)

In the 1970s:
- Nurses lived and died by the Kardex, a folded card-stock roadmap to all things for the patient, completed in pencil and continuously crossed out or erased and updated.
- Universal precautions didn't exist.
- Electrophysiology studies were done at the bedside to discover and treat arrhythmias.
- Warm-water-heated metal bedpans were used for patient comfort.
- Nurses used the second hand of a wristwatch to calculate I.V. drip rates.
- White oxford lace-up shoes were the norm for nurses.
- Only operating-room (OR) staff and physicians wore scrubs.
- Vital signs recording required a three-colored pen to reflect the three different shifts.
- Nurses mixed antibiotics without pharmacist assistance.
- Nurses became proficient in I.V. sticks by practicing on one another.
- Patients were weighed manually.
- Requisitions were completed on typewriters.
- Public health meant well-baby check-ups at the new mother's home.
- Patients heading for the OR had their body hair shaved with hand razors.
- Most surgery patients were admitted to the hospital the night before.
- Nursing caps were still popular.
- The Physician's Desk Reference and the U.S. Pharmacopeia, chained to the desk, were the common drug references.
- Nurses carried trays with cups of pills and med cards.
- Cancer was a death sentence.
- Staff and patients smoked in the hospital.
- Nursing care is highly specialized, and hospital patients are grouped geographically in units by disease or body system.
- Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans are the first order of business before a definitive diagnosis is made.
- The average length of stay in acute-care hospitals is 4 days (down from 11.4 days in 1975).
- Heart revascularization procedures are done on an outpatient basis in the catheterization lab in one day.
- Scopes and lasers are used to treat numerous bleeding conditions.
- Plastic shoes, clogs, and sneakers are common footwear for nurses.
- Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians prepare, compound, and deliver drugs and infusions following rigorous safety checks, sometimes involving preparation in special hoods.
- Automated beds are used to weigh and reposition patients.
- Ceiling-mounted lifts transport patients from bed to commode.
- Nursing caps occupy space in museums.
- More than two-thirds of patients exceed the 5-year survival rates for most cancers.
- Online references for pharmaceuticals, nursing procedures, and evidence-based practice provide instant information at the point of care.
- Elderly patients undergo invasive procedures at the request of family, even when healthcare professionals know such care is futile.
- Low-birth-weight babies have a survival rate of 90% (up from less than 50% in 1960).
- Nurses provide a growing percentage of primary-care and chronic-care patient management.

Even more growth in technology will lead to:

1. Advances in processing capacity and speed
2. Development of interactive user interfaces
3. Development in image storage and transfer technology
4. Changes in telecommunication technology

Other technological advances:

1. Digital technology will increase the applications of telehealth and telemedicine
2. Nanotechnology will introduce new forms of diagnosis and treatment by means of inexpensive handheld biosensors.
3. Improvements in the accessibility of clinical data across settings and time: improves both outcomes and care management. The electronic medical record will replace traditional documentation systems.
4. Electronic commerce will become routine for transacting health care services and products.

Nurses of the 21st century need to be skilled in the use of computer technology:

1. Already, distance learning modalities link students and faculty from different locales and expand the potential for accessible continuing professional education.
2. Technically sophisticated preclinical simulation laboratories will stimulate critical thinking and skill acquisition in a safe and user-friendly environment.
3. Faster and more flexible access to data and new means of observation and communication are having an impact on how nursing research is conducted.
Factoid: nurses who are proficient with telemedicine can monitor their patients easily in their homes, keeping tabs on any daily activity or medication needs.
To date, electronic health records are the most significant IT investment for most health care settings.

Top nursing schools:

1. Johns Hopkins, Baltimore
2. U. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
3. U. of Washington, Seattle
4. U. of California, San Francisco, San Francisco
5. U. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

NOW, the good news: a bright Job Picture

2.74 million: number of employed nurses, 2010
3.45 million: number of employed nurses, projected, by 2020, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics
26: percentage increase in nursing jobs from 2010-2020.
495,000: number of nurses who will have to be replaced by 2020.
1.2 million: number of job openings projected by 2020. That's new jobs, 712,000 plus 495,000 replacement jobs.
260,000: The U.S. nursing shortage is projected to grow to 260,000 R.N.s by 2025.

30,000: number of additional nurses needed to be graduated annually to meet the nation's healthcare needs. That's 30 percent more than current number of annual nurse graduates.

$64,690: median pay for nurses per year
$31.10: per hour pay

Famous nurses, fiction (TV and movies)

Nurse Jackie: a Showtime cable series
"Hotlips" Houlihan: MASH movie and TV show
Carol Hathaway: nurse on the long-running TV show, E.R.
Carla Espinosa: Scrubs
Christine Chapel: the nurse on the original Star Trek series