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From janitor to graduate nurse to better physician performance, plus more nursing stories ripped from the Headlines

This week’s blog post is from our continuing series of nursing industry news pieces we’ve effectively “ripped from headlines”, a la Law & Order. Have a glance at our series of Nursing Ripped from the Headlines blog posts.

In the international healthcare recruitment system, quality nursing placement is represented by two separate yet equally important groups. The quality international candidates who practice nursing, and the US healthcare providers who count on Conexus Medstaff for their services.

These are their stories (duh-DUH!).

From NYU janitor to NYU qualified nurse

There’s a common saying in America about the beauty of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, i.e. taking your future into your own hands. Whilst there is a time-immemorial debate on how feasible this notion is across the board, what isn’t up for discussion is the dedication and resolve of people with a passion for a profession once they get a sense of its benefits. For residents and emigres, this passion resulting in unlikely stories of triumph can be found every day.

For one former janitor at a prestigious collegiate nursing program, a passion for nursing became a qualification. From cnn.com:

Frank Baez got his first healthcare experience as a teenager, mopping floors and cleaning patients' rooms as a hospital janitor at New York University.

This week, the 29-year-old got his nursing degree from NYU's Rory Meyers College of Nursing, after finishing an accelerated 15-month program.

"It was a very intense program, I'll tell you that. It was a lot of work," he told CNN. "It was worth it, it paid off at the end. Here I am now, a graduated nurse."

Baez and his two brothers came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 2004, when he was 15 years old. He got a job as a weekend housekeeper at NYU Langone's Tisch Hospital when he was 17 to help his mom take care of the family.

Baez liked the fast-paced environment and the people. After a couple of years, he got a patient transport job taking people to tests and other procedures.

"He was always compassionate to patients and families," said Nataly Pasklinsky, who's now the director of simulation learning at the NYU nursing school.

The rise of an immigrant in the US from a humble beginning to the realization of a working opportunity in a sector they’re passionate about is something you and Conexus Medstaff can certainly relate to. Coming to the US to follow that passion as a student - often on the F1 visa - is something we can both manage from a visa process standpoint and turn into a long-term career.

Well done, Frank.

HBR Study: Great Nursing Improves Doctors’ Performance

For everyone nodding their heads and/or saying “No kidding,” take comfort: this is now backed by discernible data. Specifically, this data relates to Magnet status hospitals in the US, an elite collection of programs dedicated to specific components of better nursing development as it correlates to effective hospital ratings. From Harvard Business Review:

Hospitals participating in these initiatives see higher nurse satisfaction and retention, improved patient experience, and safety, decreased mortality, increased revenues, and many other benefits…

Press Ganey’s proprietary survey...revealed a meaningful association between Magnet status and higher patient ratings of physicians’ skill, response to concerns, time spent with the patient, friendliness and courtesy and other measures. Mean scores for Magnet facilities ranged from 84.6 for “time physician spent with you” to 93.2 for “skill of the physician” while mean scores for non-Magnet facilities ranged from 83.6 to 92.1 for the same questions.

These differences in score are small but can make a major difference when ranking hospitals on a percentile basis. Furthermore, the study shows a positive association between nursing excellence and the performance of physicians.

Authors Christina Dempsey and Thomas H. Lee took time to reiterate that even for hospitals who have not achieved Magnet status (annually, costs for a facility to run the program are around $500,000, and take between three to five years to attain), the Magnet principles can still apply.

The nursing culture of Magnet with its emphasis on quality, autonomy, relationships, and leadership emanates far beyond nursing, inspiring staff at all levels, including physicians. It requires the commitment to transformational change that drives improvement in clinical excellence, workforce engagement, safety, and the patient experience — and an appreciation of how these are intertwined.

Vietnam War nurse honors fallen  

We wrap today to take notice of a nurse who took the time to recognize an always symbolic day of the year in American life.

Memorial Day is an annual holiday in the US on the last Monday of May, one established to remember the countless number of American soldiers who’ve died in the battlefields. Too often, unfettered commercialism (by way of one-off sales extravaganzas and discounts) creeps in and overruns the true meaning of American holidays, in lieu of the stated focus of that day of remembrance. Memorial Day is not immune.

Peggy Akers, who served with the Vietnam Army Nurse Corps, was having none of it. Despite being an opponent of the war, she served as a nurse in combat and saw the devastation of military action first-hand between 1969 and 1972. In a letter to the editor, Akers wrote a devastating account of the harsh realities of war celebrants of Memorial Day can never forget. From CentralMaine.com:

It’s Memorial Day, America. Do you hear the flags snapping in the wind? There’s a big sale at Macy’s, and there’s a big parade in Washington for the veterans. But it’s not the American flag or the sound of drums I hear – I hear a helicopter coming in. I smell the burning of human flesh. It’s Thomas, America, the young black kid from Atlanta, my patient, burned by an exploding gas tank.

Peggy’s account - of both Thomas and other soldiers and civilians she treated named Pham, Robbie, and Allen, specifically - remind us that the passion and possibility of the American Dream so many nurses have are grounded in the realities of the environment they practice. Few will ever be as tried or grounded as they would be in the environment of war. It’s concise and well worth a read for anyone compassionate enough to have a smile on their face as they treat patients every day.

On a happier note, the passion borne out of the devastation of Vietnam has driven Peggy into an illustrious nursing career. A native of Portland, Maine, she was honored in 2018 as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners 2018 State Award for Excellence.

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