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Nursing shortage yields R.I., N.H., Mass. collaboration

PROVIDENCE — At Rhode Island Hospital, the shortage of highly qualified nurses who teach is already so bad that it’s had two nurse educator positions open for two years, even at the largest hospital in a state with one of the nation’s worst unemployment rates.

“It has an impact on care. It really does. It has an impact on how quickly we are able to advance and institute new programs,” said Barbara Riley, the hospital’s chief nursing officer. “We absolutely struggle to find nurses with master’s degrees who are educated in teaching.”

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posted in: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, news, Rhode Island
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Rhode Island Hospital awarded $11 million, 5-year renewal

PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Hospital has received an $11 million renewal of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to fund its Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) Center for Cancer Research Development (CCRD). Rhode Island Hospital’s COBRE CCRD offers cancer researchers access to the latest technologies in molecular pathology and the emerging field of proteomics. The 5-year grant from the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), awarded after an extremely competitive peer review process, guarantees that the laboratory-based cancer research program will continue through the year 2013.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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Tufts foundation wins $250k nursing grant

Tufts Health Plan Foundation announced Thursday it was chosen as one of 19 foundations nationwide to receive $250,000 in funding from a national initiative intended to help address nursing shortages.

With the two-year grant, Tufts Health Plan Foundation will develop a regional approach to nursing education. The tri-state collaboration, which will include peer organizations in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, will work specifically with the Massachusetts Hospital Association to implement the program.

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posted in: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, news, Rhode Island
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$1 million grant to RI Hospital M.D. for primary care melanoma screening training program

Providence, RI – Rhode Island Hospital dermatologist Martin Weinstock, MD, PhD, has received a $1 million, 2-year Team Science Award grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance to serve as principal investigator to develop a training program for primary care physicians to improve melanoma screening in primary care. The goal is to develop a web-based training module that will lead to earlier detection of melanoma and ultimately reduce the number of melanoma deaths by half.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 68,720 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the United States this year. While melanoma accounts for only about five percent of all skin cancer cases, it has by far a much higher mortality rate than the more common types.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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Kent nurse mounts drive to de-authorize hospital union

Less than a week after nurses won their first union negotiated contract with Kent Hospital, an emergency department nurse and union representative is mounting an effort to de-authorize the union, thereby giving the hospital’s 670 nurses the right to decide whether they want to pay dues or not.

Jeanette Geary said Tuesday that she has been in contact with the National Right to Work Foundation and aims to circulate a petition, the first step to a de-authorization vote as soon as she educates nurses on their rights and the action they can take.

Prompting Geary’s actions are what she considers a lack of information distributed by the union, the manner in which the contract vote was conducted and union misinformation.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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Hospital, union laud first pact as benefiting patients

Union and hospital administrators are touting Kent’s first contract with its nurses as a cooperative effort that will benefit both parties and patients.

“This is not about what I got,” Kent President and CEO Sandra Coletta said, “or what they got, but what we got.”

Coletta said much of the talks centered on procedural issues and systems. As an example, she cited scheduling and how the hospital deals with floaters or nurses who would fill in depending on where they were needed.

“What’s unique is that this is the first contract,” said Jack Callaci, field representative for the United Nurses & Allied Professionals. Hospital nurses voted to unionize last October.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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Newport Hospital Receives Magnet Status Re-Designation

Newport (R.I.) Hospital recently received re-designation of the Magnet status, joining an elite group of hospitals in the U.S. Only 2% of hospitals achieve this award more than once, according to a news release.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program identifies healthcare organizations providing quality patient care, professional nursing practices, nurse leadership and education, and nursing best practices. The center assesses all areas of patient care in a thorough, on-site evaluation, which Newport Hospital passed with flying colors.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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R.I. hospitals agree on safety protocol for surgeries

All the hospitals and outpatient surgical centers in Rhode Island have agreed to follow the same process to prevent errors in surgery.

The protocol establishes detailed new rules intended to prevent the wrong-site surgeries that have embarrassed local hospitals in recent years. It also lowers the risk of confusion for the many doctors and nurses who work at more than one place, and who will now all follow the same routine.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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RI rejects health insurance rate hikes

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Rhode Island’s health insurance commissioner has asked three private insurers to withdraw their rate hike requests.

The Providence Journal reports that Commissioner Christopher Koller on Thursday said in letters to Tufts Health Plan, UnitedHealthCare of New England and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island that the rate hikes, some exceeding 16 percent, were “unjustified.”

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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States Propose Legislation To Increase Nursing Educators

Rhode Island and Texas are creating new laws which aim to boost the number of educators in nursing schools.

The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a proposal that would grant nursing instructors a $3,500 tax credit, hoping that such a law will encourage more nurses to teach. As a result, they expect that more wait-listed nursing school applicants would be admitted. Currently, nurses who teach at the state’s nursing schools earn significantly less than nurses who work in private-sector jobs.

“Rhode Island faces a projected shortage of more than 1,800 registered nurses by next year and a further projected shortage of 6,500 registered nurses by the year 2020,” remarked Sen. James Doyle II of Pawtucket, who was quoted by NBC 10.

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posted in: news, Rhode Island
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