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Nation Makes Headway in Averting Nurse Shortage, Federal Study Finds

The nation is making good progress toward averting a national shortage of nurses, according to a recent report from the federal government. If registered nurses (RNs) continue to train at the current levels, the nation's supply of nurses will grow by the equivalent of nearly 1 million full-time RNs over the next decade, from 2.9 million in 2012 to 3.85 million in 2025-a 33% jump, the study found. Demand for nurses, meanwhile, is expected to grow by 21%, from 2.9 million to 3.51 million, over the same time period. These projections, however, do not account for changes in the healthcare system created by new models of care and a greater emphasis on wellness and prevention, which are expected to add to the demand for nurses. The study also did not analyze the nursing workforce by education level or address whether the nation will have enough nurses with the kind of advanced education they will need to meet growing demand for more highly skilled nursing care. "This report is encouraging in that it suggests we are making progress in growing the nursing workforce-something that is urgently needed with demand for nursing care growing as the nation ages, the burden of disease rises, and as millions of people enter the health care system under health reform," said Susan B. Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, senior adviser for nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). "But getting enough nurses in place is only the first step; we also need to make sure we have enough highly educated nurses to care for an increasingly complex population of patients in an evolving health care system where nurses will need to play new and expanded roles. That means following recommendations from the Institute of Medicine's report on the future of nursing, which calls for 80 percent of nurses to have baccalaureate or higher degrees by 2020."

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For the full report,


Addressing the Looming Demand for Care as Americans Age

Within 4 decades, as many as 84 million Americans will be 65 or older-twice the current number of seniors, and almost 20% of the total U.S. population. The great majority of these Americans will likely seek assistance in maintaining their health and well-being, making it essential that the nation develop effective and affordable ways to provide the long-term services and supports (LTSS) they need. The latest issue of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Charting Nursing's Future policy brief series offers ample evidence that nurses have developed creative, sustainable, and compassionate ways to care for people who, because of disability, frailty, or illness, cannot care for themselves. In a variety of ways, nurses are making it easier for older, chronically ill individuals to stay healthier, remain in the community with their families, and avoid developing expensive debilitating conditions. The brief describes a number of innovative LTSS programs, as well as their collective potential to reshape the future of care for older Americans.

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Such programs have a number of goals, including:


* improving care transitions,


* enabling older adults to live in the community,


* preventing physical and cognitive decline,


* coaching and supporting family members, and


* making institutional care more homelike.



For the full report, visit


Study Reveals Many Americans at Risk for Alcohol-Medication Interactions

Nearly 42% of U.S. adults who drink also report using medications known to interact with alcohol, based on a study from the National Institutes of Health. Among those over 65 years of age who drink alcohol, nearly 78% report using alcohol-interactive medications. Such medications are widely used, prescribed for common conditions such as depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The research is among the first to estimate the proportion of adult drinkers in the United States who may be mixing alcohol-interactive medications with alcohol. The resulting health effects can range from mild (nausea, headaches, loss of coordination) to severe (internal bleeding, heart problems, difficulty breathing).

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"Combining alcohol with medications often carries the potential for serious health risks," said Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of NIH. "Based on this study, many individuals may be mixing alcohol with interactive medications and they should be aware of the possible harms." For the full report, visit:


Progress Being Made in Infection Control in U.S. Hospitals; Continued Improvements Needed

Progress has been made in the effort to eliminate infections that commonly threaten hospital patients, including a 46% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) between 2008 and 2013, according to a report released by the CDC. However, additional work is needed to continue to improve patient safety. CDC's healthcare-associated infections (HAI) progress report is a snapshot of how each state and the country are doing in eliminating six infection types that hospitals are required to report to CDC. For the first time, this year's HAI progress report includes state-specific data about hospital lab-identified methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections and Clostridium difficile infections (deadly diarrhea). The full report is available at:

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On the national level, the report found a:


* 46% decrease in CLABSI between 2008 and 2013. A CLABSI occurs when a tube is placed in a large vein and either not put in correctly or not kept clean, becoming a highway for germs to enter the body and cause deadly infections in the blood.


* 19% decrease in surgical site infections (SSI) related to the 10 select procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2013. When germs get into the surgical wound, patients can get an SSI involving the skin, organs, or implanted material.


* 6% increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections since 2009; although initial data from 2014 seem to indicate that these infections have started to decrease. When a urinary catheter is either not put in correctly, not kept clean, or left in a patient for too long, germs can travel through the catheter and infect the bladder and kidneys.


* 8% decrease in MRSA bloodstream infections between 2011 and 2013.