NPs in the News, May Headlines
Friday, June 12, 2020
Posted by: TNP
Fallout from Virus Fear: Hospitals, Clinics See Plunging Patient Numbers
Fear of catching the coronavirus, combined with a months-long ban on elective surgeries and procedures during the pandemic, is keeping patients away from hospitals and clinics and spurring an acute financial crisis within the healthcare system – including in Texas. In the midst of this crisis, hospitals are furloughing staff and clinics and practices are struggling to survive.
In San Benito, VHC Family Health and Night Clinic has seen patient numbers drop 30 to 40 percent, according to owner and a family nurse practitioner Israel Vega. This concerns Vega, who has many patients suffering diabetes, heart disease and hypertension and these patients are delaying medical care as they wait out the coronavirus.
“A lot of my elderly patients haven’t come in,” he said. “Their symptoms are going to get worse.”
Vega said many of his patients also fear entering pharmacies to refill prescriptions. “We know these people are not getting their medicine at all.”
Read more here.
Regents Approve Texas State University’s Psychiatric Mental Health Certificate for Nurse Practitioners
The Texas State University System Board of Regents has authorized Texas State University to offer a new Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program via distance education. Starting in Spring 2021, TNP University Ambassador Texas State University will begin offering this new program, which will be based on the Round Rock campus.
“There are over 4,000 areas in the U.S. designated as shortage areas for mental health providers, with Texas being 50/51, second only to Alabama, with a rate of one provider to 990 people with psychiatric and mental health disorders,” said Gene Bourgeois, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “This program will provide current advanced practice nurses the opportunity to become certified as psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners and help fill the gap in mental health care.”
Read more here.
Let Nurse Practitioners Do Their Job in Texas: Christy Blanco
TNP President Christy Blanco recognized International Nurses Day on May 12 by penning an Op-ed to the El Paso Times. Her message was loud and clear: let nurse practitioners do their job.
Blanco’s Op-ed underscored the restrictive practice environment in Texas that stands in the way of nurse practitioners and their patients – especially in areas like El Paso where nurse practitioners only need to go to the other side of the state border to avoid Texas’ costly, burdensome regulations requiring them to contract with a physician in order to practice. While these regulations are problematic all the time, their effect was especially apparent during the COVID-19 disaster period. According to an internal TNP poll, 40 percent of nurse practitioners in Texas reported they could not work or volunteer during the pandemic due to delegation requirements imposed by the state.
“Gov. Abbott and the Texas Legislature can save lives, reduce health care costs and keep nurses in the state by eliminating unnecessary contractual requirements once and for all,” stated Blanco. “Half the country and a number of federal agencies have eliminated the bureaucratic hassle altogether, and it’s time for Texas to catch up.”
“Nurses continue to be the most-trusted profession in the country for a reason, and it’s time for our state regulations to acknowledge what Texans already know.” “Nurses can be trusted to do their jobs and save lives without paying for a permission slip to do so first.”
Read her article here.
'Part of the calling:' Brazos Valley health care workers lend a hand in NYC
College Station family nurse practitioner Tawnya Anderson was planning to go back to school this year to pursue a psych-mental health nurse practitioner degree, but she switched gears when a pandemic swept the nation and ended up going to New York City to help patients in the coronavirus hotspot instead.
“I just know it’s been a calling to go into the medical field in and of itself,” she said. “I see that there was a great need [right now]. I know that there’s a huge risk. It could potentially cause me a lot of harm, but I guess that’s just part of the calling.”
Anderson was deployed in April alongside several other nurses from the College Station area. She has been stationed at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in Manhattan, where she works 12-hour night shifts and oversees care for people with and without COVID-19.
Back at home, Anderson has two teenage daughters and a husband waiting for her. Amelia, 15, is an aspiring nurse and said it can be scary to know that her mother is exposed to COVID-19, but she ultimately understands the importance of the work of medical professionals like her mom.
Read the article here.
Harris College's Rural Health Initiative Shines During Coronavirus
While some clinical training for nurse practitioners has been paused or put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, TNP University Ambassador TCU Harris College of Nursing has been sending even more nurses into the field.
“It has been a bit of a whirlwind with COVID,” said Vicki Brooks, assistant professor of professional practice. “We did not pull them out but sent more into rural areas. Many of the local, larger health care systems and other large-city health care systems in Texas have not allowed students since COVID, but the rural areas have.”
Brooks said the rural areas stood ready to accept their help. Most of the areas where students have been sent are single-hospital counties and government designated Health Professional Shortage Areas in critical need of health care providers.
Two hospital systems in Texas are supporting the rural health immersion for the TCU Family Nurse Practitioner students. Haskell Memorial Hospital in Haskell, Texas, and Rankin Hospital District in Rankin, Texas, are providing food and lodging for students during their clinicals.
“Our goal is that one day, students will return to work in the rural health environment,” Brooks said. “Times like this show just how very much they are needed.”
Read more here.