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VA nurses scrutinized after patient deaths in 2 states

ProPublica, May 1, 2012

After a patient died last year at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Manhattan, federal inspectors discovered nurses in his unit had a startling gap in their skills: They didn't understand how the monitors tracking vital signs worked. The incident followed two deaths in the cardiac monitoring unit at a VA hospital in Denver that raised similar questions about nurse competency. Earlier this month, a broader review by the VA inspector general of 29 VA facilities found only half had adequately documented that their nurses had the needed skills. Some nurses "did not demonstrate competency in one or more required skills," but there was no evidence of retraining, the report said.