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HealthLeaders' Top 5 Nursing Stories of 2019

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   December 13, 2019

What were the hottest nursing topics of the year? Here's a roundup of our most popular nursing stories.

It's the end of the calendar year and with that comes the tradition of looking back on the year that was. With that in mind, I have compiled a list of HealthLeaders' most-read nursing stories in 2019.

Some of the most popular topics this year include bedside nurse recruitment and retention, advanced practice registered nurses' scope of practice, and workplace violence. The following is a list of the top five HealthLeaders nursing stories, ranked by popularity.

#5.   Nurses Create Escape Room to Increase Sepsis Awareness

Themed escape rooms for team-building events have become popular over the past few years, and some creative nurses are using the escape room concept to improve healthcare professionals' knowledge of sepsis.

Paula M. Gabriel, MSN, RN, and Casey Lieb, MSN, RN, nurses at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, a 355-bed acute care hospital in Philadelphia, and members of the Penn Medicine Sepsis Alliance education team, designed an interdisciplinary escape room for World Sepsis Day.

Teams of six to eight people were locked together in a sepsis escape room and were asked to use critical-thinking skills and teamwork to complete a mission to learn about sepsis. The teams had 25 minutes to detect and treat sepsis in a mock patient before they could escape the room. They did this by solving four puzzles and responding to clues.

"The escape room format allows different types of learning, so you have people that are auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners [and] they can touch things and talk through things. You have to use your critical-thinking skills and think outside the box," Gabriel says. "There's that pressure element of having to escape something in a certain amount of time and you know it's a different way of learning, compared to the traditional, ‘come and sit in a classroom' and have somebody give you information."

#4. Patient Faces Arrest for Attack That Killed Louisiana Nurse

Workplace violence against healthcare workers is an issue that's getting much needed attention.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports 50% of workplace assault victims are employed in the healthcare industry and, between 2002 to 2013, serious workplace violence incidents were four times more likely to occur to a healthcare worker compared to all other workers in the United States.

Workplace violence can also be deadly. In April 2019, 56-year-old nurse Lynne Truxillo was attacked by a patient in a behavioral health unit at Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Louisiana. Truxillo injured her right leg and struck her head on a desk. She died a week later due to blood clots in her leg and lungs that a coroner determined had resulted from the incident.  The patient was arrested and charged with manslaughter.

#3.  4 Reasons You Are Losing Nurses

Nurse turnover is costly. According to Christy Dempsey, RN, DNP, MSN, CNOR, CENP, FAAN, chief nursing officer at Press Ganey, turnover is estimated to range between $38,000 to $61,000 per nurse, which translates to between $4.4 million and $7 million per year per hospital.

So, what do nurse leaders need to know to help them retain nurses?

The 2018 Press Ganey Nursing Special Report: Optimizing the Nursing Workforce: Key Drivers of Intent to Stay for Newly Licensed and Experienced Nurses shares trends of why nurses leave or stay in their positions. These include the importance of the work environment, younger nurses being at higher risk of turnover, the importance of recognition, and the units at risk for higher turnover.

The report suggests leaders make the following areas strategic priorities to develop and retain a multigenerational nursing workforce:

  • Quality of care/joy in work
  • Manager support
  • Staff tenure skill mix
  • Workforce cohesion
  • Staffing mix and flexible scheduling

#2. Why Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners Need Supervision, Say Physician Groups

Physician opposition to regulations that support greater autonomy for NPs is always a story that is followed with much interest by the medical field. This year, the American Medical Association expressed its support again for restricting independent practice among NPs. The advocacy group Physicians for Patient Protection has been outspoken about its safety concerns regarding NPs and physician assistants.

"There are absolutely patient-safety concerns associated with NP and PA care. We don't diminish the fact that physicians make mistakes, of course, but the type of mistake is often very different from those of nonphysician practitioners. We have had many physicians and patients share stories with us of missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses by NPs and PAs, as well as excessive and inappropriate testing, prescribing, and treatment," says Carmen Kavali, MD, of Kavali Plastic Surgery and Skin Renewal Center in Atlanta, and a PPP board member.

 And the No. 1 most-popular HealthLeaders nursing story:

#1. Want to Keep Nurses at the Bedside? Here's How.

There's more to building a strong nursing workforce than just filling open positions. Nurse leaders must also consider whether a nurse has the right skills and work experience to deliver high-quality patient care. Additionally, they must retain and develop the staff they have in order to prevent turnover and loss of talent.

In this article, three nurse leaders share their successes in recruiting and retaining bedside nurses. Their solutions include changing nursing's reputation at the organization and in the community, providing a return to practice program and flexible schedules for nurses interested in coming back to the bedside, and creating a healthy work environment to support nurses in developing resilience skills.


Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.


Patients are being held accountable for violence against nurses.

Appropriate staffing and flexible schedule opportunities should be a priority when attempting to retain staff.

Creativity can foster increased learning about sepsis.

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