1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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In New Jersey, new mandates to improve care for children [horizontal ellipsis] Primary care providers must now test pregnant women for HIV unless patients refuse in writing. The bill, signed into law in December 2007, directs the health department to develop guidelines for informing and counseling women whose results are positive.


New Jersey will also be the first state to require preschool children to get flu shots, beginning in September 2008. The revised regulations also require pneumococcal vaccine for preschoolers and meningococcal vaccine and pertussis reimmunization for sixth graders. They are based on recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


[horizontal ellipsis] and to make workplaces safer for nurses. By 2011 New Jersey health care facilities must establish programs for safe patient handling that include the use of mechanical aids. The legislature concluded that nurses, nurses' aides, and orderlies have the highest number of occupational injuries and illnesses of all occupations, that job-related musculoskeletal disorders contribute to nurses' flight from the profession, and that health care facilities can recover the costs of related equipment and training within three years. In addition, health care facilities must establish violence-prevention plans by June 2009. Each facility must assess its own risks and plan ways to reduce them, examining "job design, staffing, security, and equipment and facility modifications," as well as providing training in violence prevention and management to staff who have direct contact with patients.


New York City opens five new Nurse-Family Partnership sites. The Nurse-Family Partnership provides in-home visits by a nurse to low-income, first-time mothers to provide information on breastfeeding and child care and promote general health and parenting skills. (For more on the program see the November 2007 issue of AJN.)


Pennsylvania union joins with California Nurses Association. The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (, a union representing 5,100 members in 14 hospitals, has affiliated with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee. The total membership is more than 80,000 nurses-it claims to be the largest union representing nurses in the AFL-CIO.


Washington state nurses and hospital groups collaborate on staffing. On February 4 representatives of the state hospital association, nurse executives, nursing unions, and the Washington State Nurses Association signed an agreement to support legislation requiring hospital administrators and nursing staff to work together on "a staffing plan that supports the wellbeing of staff and in-turn promotes patient safety," according to the press release issued by the office of Washington governor Chris Gregoire.



Sex education pays off. Teens who receive sex education before becoming sexually active are more likely to delay intercourse and to use contraceptives when they finally have sex, finds a study reported in the January 2008 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined data from 2,019 unmarried youths, ages 15 to 19, collected by the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth. Sex education reduced by two-thirds the percentage of boys who had intercourse before age 15 and by more than half the percentage of girls who had done so. Male teens who attended or had graduated high school were 2.77 times more likely to use birth control the first time they had intercourse if they had received sex education. Sex education was not linked to contraceptive use in female teens but proved particularly important for at-risk subgroups, such as female African Americans. "Sex education provides youth[s] with the knowledge and skill to make healthy and informed decisions about sex," the authors write. The study did not differentiate between sex education programs that teach contraception and those that teach abstinence; the researchers urge further studies to sort that out.


Predicting psychosis in high-risk youths. A genetic risk of schizophrenia combined with a recent deterioration in functioning was "strongly and uniquely predictive" of the development of full-blown psychosis in 291 young people seeking treatment for prodromal symptoms of psychotic illness, according to an article published in the January issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. The researchers assessed possible predictive variables during two and a half years of follow-up. The association with emerging psychosis was even stronger when genetic risk and functional decline were accompanied by unusual thought content and either "suspicion/paranoia" or impaired social functioning. A history of substance abuse was also associated with the development of psychosis, although treatment with antipsychotic drugs was not, once other factors were accounted for.