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The New ABCs of Medical School: Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Cooking

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High-Value Care Increasingly Becoming Core Part of Med School Curriculum

High-value care has been added to curricula for many aspiring physicians

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Action coalition aims to ensure Massachusetts RNs have a voice

Having recently formed, the Massachusetts Action Coalition has planned an ambitious agenda while looking forward to helping transform healthcare.

Citing the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” report findings that more nurse education can lead to better patient outcomes, academic progression and increasing the number of baccalaureate nurses are among the coalition’s priorities. The coalition also plans to build on existing education programs in Massachusetts.

“Nurses are key members of the healthcare team, and they should be full partners with physicians and other disciplines,” said Kevin Whitney, RN, MA, NEA-BC, president of the Organization of Nurse Leaders of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and associate chief nurse of patient care services at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. “Implementing the recommendations allows nurses in all roles to improve quality of care and access for our patients.”

Accomplishments for the coalition in 2011 include disseminating IOM report findings and educating key stakeholders about the report’s eight recommendations for nursing, said Whitney, whose organization is one of the co-leads of the coalition, along with the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. That critical dialogue and dissemination will continue in 2012, he said.

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posted in: Massachusetts
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$856 million school budget calls for more nurses, overhaul of Madison Park Vocational Technical High

Superintendent Carol R. Johnson tonight will present an $856.5 million budget proposal for next year that calls for increasing the number of school nurses, overhauling Madison Park Vocational Technical High School in Roxbury, and continuing efforts to turn around underperforming schools.

Johnson will also announce at the School Committee meeting that two middle schools --- the McCormack in Dorchester and the Irving in Roslindale—will have their days extended next year so they can provide more robust opportunities for the arts and athletics, as well as additional instruction.

The extended day—the amount of additional time has not been determined—is being funded through a $2.9 million federal grant over the next three years and $600,000 in contributions from seven foundations and nonprofit organizations.

Mass 2020, a state affiliate of the National Center on Time & Learning, will assist the two schools in extending the day. The schools hope to replicate the success of the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, where an extended day has helped boost test scores and has offered students more enrichment opportunities.

“We know that simply expanding the school day won’t necessarily lead to better results,” Johnson said in a statement before tonight’s meeting. “Having partners like Mass 2020 at our side as we recreate these school schedules and expand the academic and enrichment opportunities for these students will ensure that we are able to surpass all of our own expectations.”

The two schools will lengthen their days just after state education officials end funding for extended days at two other schools—Timilty Middle School in Roxbury and Umana Academy in East Boston. State officials believe the extra time was not used effectively enough to boost test scores, and funding will end this June.

The School Committee will also weigh a proposal to temporarily reopen a Dorchester school to accommodate a sudden influx of preschoolers who require special education immediately. If the committee approves the measure, Fifield Elementary, which closed less than a year ago, would open next week as an early childhood education center and could have seven classrooms in operation by the end of the school year.

The proposal is being put forward as the School Department faces a class-action lawsuit in federal court that asserts that the department routinely violates state and federal laws by denying evaluations and classroom placements for preschoolers with special needs.

The budget outlook for Boston schools for the next school year is much better than three years ago, when the nation’s economic crisis prompted the loss of hundreds of positions and other initiatives.

The latest spending proposal, which requires School Committee approval next month, is 3.1 percent higher than this current school year’s budget—an increase being provided to the School Department by Mayor Thomas M. Menino, as he crafts his budget for the City Council.

John McDonough, the School Department’s chief financial officer, called the increase “very significant” in an interview before the tonight’s meeting.

He pointed out that other big-city districts nationwide are contemplating massive cuts to balance their budgets. Los Angeles, for instance, is considering shrinking its school year to 168 days and San Diego may cut 1,100 positions, McDonough said.

But balancing the proposed school budget for next year in Boston was not easy, McDonough said. In spite of the increase, the School Department still faced a $28 million potential budget shortfall, primarily due to a reduction in state and federal grants.

The School Department was able to remedy the gap through a variety of measures, such as delaying building repairs and some textbook purchases, consolidating teacher training programs, and reducing an unspecified number of vacant positions. The Department also intends to pursue new funding through President Obama’s education agenda.

“One thing we are proud of is that we are able to move forward in a deliberate way to improve school quality,” McDonough said.

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posted in: Massachusetts
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Union trying to save jobs in health

The largest health care union in Massachusetts launched a media blitz yesterday, complete with television ads, aimed at protecting members’ jobs and highlighting the need for retraining those who do get axed at hospitals as the Patrick administration turns up the heat on cutting health care costs.

Dubbed the “Voices of Quality Care,” the campaign by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is timed to coincide with a public forum today on health costs organized by the Patrick administration.

Veronica Turner, SEIU’s executive vice president, said that the union recognizes that sweeping changes in the payment system may mean that some workers will lose their jobs or need to be retrained, but that the union worries that policy makers have not focused on that aspect of cost-cutting.

“We want to make sure people pay attention to that,” Turner said. Health care is the state’s largest employment category, and the SEIU represents more than 40,000 workers in Massachusetts, including certified nursing assistants, lab technicians, radiologists, and patient care coordinators.

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posted in: Massachusetts
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Money briefs

A new agreement will allow nursing students to start their studies at Worcester State University and finish up at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

The presidents of both colleges are scheduled to sign a transfer agreement today at Worcester State. Under the agreement, students could complete 80 credits toward a bachelor of science degree in community health pre-nursing, then transfer to the pharmacy college to complete the requirements for a bachelor of science in nursing degree, the colleges reported yesterday.

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posted in: Massachusetts
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Nurse union says St. Vincent understaffed

State and local union members of the Massachusetts Nursing Association will gather in front of St. Vincent Hospital this morning to draw attention to their concerns for patient safety at the hospital.

The news conference is to call attention to “dangerous staffing conditions that in the last year have resulted in more than 1,300 reports of unsafe situations” at St. Vincent Hospital and Tufts Medical Center, where another union rally will be held tomorrow.

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posted in: Massachusetts
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AORN Announces Legislative Priorities for 2011

The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses, (AORN), with a membership base of 40,000 RNs and representing the interests of 140,000 perioperative Registered Nurses in the U.S., has announced it will target seven states in 2011 to enact RN as Circulator. The perioperative RN, through professional and patient-centered expertise, is the primary patient advocate in the operating room and is responsible for monitoring all aspects of the patient’s condition. The presence of the RN in the circulating role throughout each surgical procedure is essential for timely delivery of quality surgical care and optimal patient outcomes.
The seven targeted states, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, were identified following an interview-based survey of hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers by the AORN Advocacy leaders. Many of these states indicated a strong desire to assure patient safety through the use of an RN circulator for each patient during each surgery. 

posted in: Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia
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Greater Medford Visiting Nursing Association sponsors Nov. 4 health hair

Greater Medford Visiting Nursing Association (GMVNA) will sponsor a Fall Health Fair at Medford Senior Center, 101 Riverside Ave., on Thursday, Nov. 4, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

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posted in: Event, JobAlert, Massachusetts
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College nursing students stay involved

PDCCC’s Nursing Program will graduate its fifth class during the College’s upcoming commencement on May 14. Since beginning in August 2004 with the admission of 30 students, the program has added a CNA-to-RN Bridge Program and an LPN-to-RN Bridge Program.

PDCCC’s Nursing Program will graduate its fifth class during the College’s upcoming commencement on May 14. Since beginning in August 2004 with the admission of 30 students, the program has added a CNA-to-RN Bridge Program and an LPN-to-RN Bridge Program.

According to Dr. Candace Rogers, head of the nursing program, these programs were developed to recognize the unique knowledge and healthcare experience the Certified Nurse Aide and the Licensed Practical Nurse bring to the educational setting.Read Full Article

posted in: Massachusetts, Employer News
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