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Top 5 Nursing Issues for 2013

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, January 8, 2013

2. The rise of care coordination and the "medical extensivist"
The term medical extensivist caught my eye when it showed up in the top 13 healthcare buzzwords for 2013. According to the article, the medical extensivist is a clinician, such as an advance practice nurse, who extends their scope of practice outside the hospital and into home or other settings.

These professionals aim to help people with chronic illness keep patients healthier outside the hospital. The idea is that regular, routine patient visits could help keep patients out of the emergency room and hospital, ultimately reducing readmissions, keeping patients healthier, and saving money. The term might be a relatively new one, but the movement is one that nurses have been leading for years.

And with a new Medicare rule that will pay nurses when they help patients make the successful transition from hospitals to other settings, look for possible job creation, too.

3. Extending the culture of safety to nurses
That professional caregivers are often poorly cared for themselves is one of the great ironies of nursing. But nurses need to be safe themselves in order to properly care for patients.

Issues range from ensuring a work environment where nurses are safe from violence and abuse to encouraging nurses to make healthy lifestyle choices and get enough sleep.

Among the top issues for the ANA this year is safe patient handling in an effort to prevent musculoskeletal disorders that can come with lifting patients.

"Currently, ANA is leading the development of national interdisciplinary safe patient handling standards to help hospitals and other health care employers develop safe, effective, and enduring programs," ANA president Karen Daley tells HealthLeaders via email. "Standards are expected to be released in spring 2013."

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7 comments on "Top 5 Nursing Issues for 2013"


Melissa S (2/8/2013 at 7:26 PM)
Agree with the safe staffing point. I believe with appropriate staffing and acuities, we could decrease the fatigue nurses experience.

John Repique (1/24/2013 at 7:44 AM)
I am also very interested in #3 because it is a very complex dilemma for nurse leaders and hospital executives. We definitely need to address the issue of nurse fatigue related to long work hours and shift work. I am pleased that ANA is taking the lead with their "Healthy Nurse" campaign.

Patricia Smith (1/22/2013 at 6:12 PM)
As the founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, I am very interested in #3 on the list. Nursing professionals suffer some of the highest levels of compassion fatigue. This secondary traumatic stress syndrome, along with burnout and stress, can devastate the life of a helper if authentic, sustainable self-care isn't practiced on a DAILY basis. I travel nationwide presenting workshops and have found nurses to provide compassionate, high quality care to their patients, but not to themselves. Compassion Satisfaction is the pleasure we derive from our caregiving. These levels must be elevated in order to keep CF levels lower. Healthcare and medical organizations must do their part in helping nurses and other medical professionals to balance their work/life and also allow self-care on the job. It's all possible if someone really cares about staff.