[LEGISLATION] H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

H.R. 3723: Viral Hepatitis Testing Act of 2013

To amend the Public Health Service Act to revise and extend the program for viral hepatitis surveillance, education, and testing in order to prevent deaths from chronic liver disease and liver cancer, and for other purposes.

Thank you to the newest Cosponsors.  Please thank your legislators for supporting legislation that YOU believe in.  If they are not listed as Cosponsors, touch base with them and let you know what you support.  Your voice goes a long way towards creating change.


Explore the full text:  https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr3723/text

Take time to thank our supporters, or voice your thoughts to your representatives.

Need help finding your legislators?

Find your representatives: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup


[LEGISLATIVE] State of the Union for Nurses

“Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman.” –President Barack Obama, January 28, 2014

This past Tuesday, President Obama gave his annual State of the Union. Millions of Americans across the country tuned in to hear the President’s speech. Some Americans were jumping to their feet in applause and others yelling at the flickering screen in front of them.

Thank you to all the awesome RNs who followed @RNAction on Twitter that evening. We encourage you to continue to tell us how the ACA impacts you and your thoughts on the State of the Union address. Here’s the response from ANA’s President Karen Daley.

In response to President Obama, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) gave the official Republican response. Did you hear that nurses were specifically mentioned?

“Every day, we’re working to expand our economy one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time”

Being Teachable is the First Key to Learning

Be Willing to Admit Ignorance, So You Can Learn

Very few people seem to be comfortable with admitting that they don’t know something. Maybe they feel that admitting ignorance about a subject will make them seem stupid, so they’ll feign knowledge and attempt to go with the flow in any given situation. This is highly detrimental on many counts, from a person being seen as an insufferable know-it-all, to projects going awry because an employee claimed to know something they didn’t.

If you don’t know something, admit to your lack of knowledge, and then immerse yourself in the subject so that you familiarize yourself with it. The universe is full of things that we don’t know, but the only way to grow and change is to open ourselves to opportunities to learn… and those won’t come about if we don’t leave space for them by saying “I know” to everything.

Human Connection in Oncology: The Importance of Empathy in Nursing Care

When contemplating social events, we will commonly ask each other, “Are you going to be there?” We like to know that individuals whom we enjoy will likely be present at the same events. When we anticipate life events that have uncertainties to them, we like to know that someone whom we trust and who we have reason to believe cares about us, will be in the life event with us. Treatment for cancer is one of those life events. Patients want to know who will be there with them. Patients are most assuredly interested in the forms of treatment available to them, but they especially want to know that they matter to others, including those who are administering their cancer treatment. Part of what makes an oncology nurse’s care effective is the nurse’s willingness to be there with a cancer patient, to connect with and care about the patient and about the patient’s life and illness. This human connection between an oncology nurse and a cancer patient and the patient’s family is now being identified in studies as what is most memorable about treatment and what is most sustaining to families whose family member did not survive the disease. Patients and families describe oncology nurses with adjectives including kind, supportive, informative, and trustworthy.1-3 What is it about the oncology nurse and the nurse’s care that is so sustaining to patients or to their survivors that it is reported as a source of comfort by patients and families for years after the actual care experienced?

Fortunately, what patients and families refer to is the most common of all elements of oncology nursing care: the human connection. This connection is the interface between nurse and patient; nurse and family members; nurse and other clinical care team members; nurse and ideas about care; and between the nurse and self-images, including self-compassion and forgiveness. A desire to form human connections is a motivation for becoming an oncology nurse; the human connection between the oncology nurse and the patient and family can offset difficult relationships with peers, disappointments with leaders, and even the irritations of inconsistently available resources and supplies for care.4 The disappointment in self for not being able to form such connections well (or to be there for patients and for families) has been one of the reasons for oncology nurses choosing to exit oncology nursing. This human connection between the oncology nurse and the patient and family is sustaining for the patient, the family, and for the nurse and is a treatment intervention. Amazingly, we know some of the outcomes of the human connection as a treatment because of patient and family reports, but we do not know the critical components of this human intervention in fine detail or the factors (environmental, personal, professional, or clinical) that influence the ability of the oncology nurse to deliver this treatment.

There is no form of mainstream cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, biotherapy) and no level of cancer prevention that is unaffected by the human connection between the oncology nurse and the patient or family. Cancer treatments have focused increasingly on the smallest elements of the human body (ie, genes, polymorphisms), but the usefulness of these smallest elements in cancer treatment will be dependent on oncology nursing care and the human connection between the oncology nurse and the patient. To be effective, treatment needs to be acceptable, understandable, and described in a way that resonates with patients’ life priorities. The acceptability of treatment relies on the ability of the oncology nurse and that of other clinicians to make a human connection with patients such that we can prepare them well for the experience of treatment in terms of what it could mean for their lives.

When we reflect on the human connections in our oncology nursing practice, our reflections include clinical interactions that were remarkably positive (the peak experiences) or memorably negative (the nadir experiences). The emotion that accompanies these reflections can be powerful enough that we reexperience the emotion with the recalled memory and move quickly and with purpose to end the reflection and instead focus on the next life event. By suppressing the memory and the emotion and moving doggedly to the next life event, we miss a sure chance to learn from ourselves the mystery of how it is that oncology nursing makes the human connection with patients and their families that proves to be the sustaining, memorable part of treatment. Instead of not attending and analyzing the human connection, let us study this element of our practice that gives such sustenance to others as well as to ourselves. How and when are such human connections made? What are the patterns across such human connections? What are the common elements in these connections, and are they common enough that they could be titrated to benefit different patient situations? How are these human connections maintained between a nurse and a patient? What environmental, personal, professional, or clinical factors influence the human connection in positive or adverse ways? The human connection in oncology nursing needs careful study, but in the interim we will continue to be there for oncology patients and their families, for our colleagues, and for ideas that will improve our care.



1. Zamanzadel V, Azimzadeh R, Rahmani A, et al. Oncology patients’ and professional nurses’ perceptions of important nurse caring behaviors. BMC Nurs. 2010;9(10). http://www.biomedicalcentral.com/1472-6955/9/10. Accessed November 14, 2010. [Context Link]

2. Masood J, Forristal H, Cornes R, et al. An audit of patient satisfaction with uro-oncology nurse specialists-a questionnaire study. Int J Urol Nurs. 2007;1(2):81-86. [Context Link]

3. Van Rooyen D, le Roux L, Kotze WJ. The experiential world of the oncology nurse. Health SA Gesondheid. 2008;13(3):18-30. [Context Link]

4. Steen B, Burghen E, Hinds PS, et al. Development and testing of the role-related meaning scale for staff in pediatric oncology. Cancer Nurs. 2003;26(13):187-194. [Context Link]

[LEGISLATIVE UPDATE] Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act


H.R. 1339:To amend the Public Health Service Act to increase the number of permanent faculty in palliative care at accredited allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, nursing schools, and other programs, to promote education in palliative care and hospice, and to support the development of faculty careers in academic palliative medicine.

New Cosponsor: Rep. John Garamendi [D-CA3]

New Cosponsor: Rep. John Conyers [D-MI13]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Michael Grimm [R-NY11]

Thank you to our newest Cosponsors.  Please thank your legislators for supporting legislation that YOU believe in.  If they are not listed as Cosponsors, touch base with them and let you know what you support.  Your voice goes a long way towards creating change.


Explore the full text & track this bill:


Take time to thank our supporters, or voice your thoughts to your representatives.

Need help finding your legislators?

Find your representatives: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup

[VOICES of EXPERIENCE] Advice for Nursing Students From the Field


Voices of Experience…  Advice for Nursing Students

Some words of experience from men and women who are working nurses in a variety of settings, with myriad skills, perspectives, and levels of education.  Thank you to all of the nurses who have been so forthcoming in sharing their views and experiences !

It takes a lot of hard work and determination. You can start off by job shadowing at the hospital, that way you can get a feel for the nurse’s role first hand. I saw that you were an observer for a medical team which is a good start. If anything, for now get your prerequisites out the way. A community college is a good start for those, save you some money, just make sure your classes will transfer to the prospective nursing programs. I would definitely recommended getting your BSN though, it will be beneficial to you in the long run. Just know that nursing is a whole different field, a different way of thinking. Good luck to you! ~Jwana


Get ready to change your way of life! I was 47 yrs. old before I started nursing school.
I had to eat, breathe, and sleep nursing. I traveled 70 miles one way to class.
I ate my sandwich walking across campus to my next class. Maybe you can partner up
with a friend. I did and we traveled together. By the way,neither of us had prior nursing experience. We quizzed each other on what we had studied on the way, to and from class. I studied on the couch sometimes until 2;00 A.M.and set my alarm clock. I had to wake up early early in a.m. to hook up with my ride and get to class on time.

It won’ t be easy, but you can do it. You really have to be determined that you will make
it through the course and graduate. By the way, if you are married or in a relationship,
I hope you have a supportive spouse or partner. That will help a whole lot.

Nursing was the experience of a lifetime. You will never be sorry. Being a nurse will do
a lot of things for you. It will makes you a more caring, organized, stronger person (emotionally), able to make right decisions for your patients. It teaches you a different way of thinking. I had a little trouble leaving my patients at the hospital, when my shift ended. I hope that you learn to do that. Be determined and stick with it. Do not let the words, “I quit!” creep into your mind. Good luck!
mind, no matter what. ~Katie

Get as organized in your life as possible.
Make sure you have everything in your life done ahead of time. Get all your dental, medical, car appointments, etc….. done beforehand. We weren’t allowed many absences and if you missed something it was hard to fill in the gap.
Expect for your world to revolve around school and most things will be second.
Best of wishes, ~Lynda

U.S. Representative Lois Capps Introduces Safe Staffing for Nurses Legislation

Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Lois Capps (D-CA), a nurse, introduced bi-partisan legislation allowing nurses to have a safer work environment. Congresswoman Capps, along with U.S. Representative David Joyce (R-OH), introduced the “Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act of 2013,” HR 1821. The bill is currently in discussion with the Committee on Energy and Commerce and is also being read at the Committee on Ways and Means. 

The primary goal of the bill is to provide for patient protection by establishing safe nurse staffing levels at certain Medicare providers. The bill enumerates many well known facts about workplace safety for nurses, patients, and hospitals. Some include

  • Research shows that patient safety in hospitals is directly proportionate to the number of RNs working in the hospital. Higher staffing levels by experienced RNs are related to lower rates of negative patient outcomes.
  • A 2011 study on nurse staffing and inpatient hospital mortality shows that sub-optimal nurse staffing is linked with a greater likelihood of patient death in the hospital. A 2012 study of serious patient events reported to the Joint Commission demonstrates that one of the leading causes of all hospital sentinel events is human factors, including staffing and staffing skill mix.
  • Healthcare worker fatigue has been identified as a major patient safety hazard, and appropriate staffing policies and practices are indicated as an effective strategy to reduce healthcare worker fatigue and to protect patients. A national survey of RNs found that 74% experience acute or chronic effects of stress and overwork.
  • A 2012 study of Pennsylvania hospitals shows that by reducing nurse burnout, which is attributed in part to poor nurse staffing, those hospitals could prevent an estimated 4,160 infections with an associated savings of $41,000,000. That study also found that for each additional patient assigned to an RN for care, there is an incidence of roughly one additional catheter-acquired urinary tract infection per 1,000 patients, or 1,351 infections per year, costing those hospitals as much as $1,100,000 annually.
  • When hospitals employ insufficient numbers of nursing staff, RNs are being required to perform professional services under conditions that do not support quality health care or a healthful work environment for RNs.

The bill also establishes certain levels of safety for nurse staffing at Medicare participating hospitals. Each participating hospital shall implement a hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital, through which a nursing staff committee will help develop. 

The inclusive committee will “conduct regular, ongoing monitoring of the implementation of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services furnished in the hospital; carry out evaluations of the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services at least annually; and make such modifications to the hospital-wide staffing plan for nursing services as may be appropriate.”

There is yet to be a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, but as the bill moves forward, ONS will keep its members apprised of the legislation.



Transformation [ˌtrænsfəˈmeɪʃən]


1. a change or alteration, esp. a radical one

2. the act of transforming or the state of being transformed


One day I was a student.  A couple hundred days passed, seasons changed and changed again…  I changed and changed again, but one day, I opened my mailbox and I became [insert well-deserved drumroll] a nursing student. 

My friends had already received their acceptance letters.  Mine came two days later.  Two sleeps felt like an eternity.  Doubt crept in.  I congratulated my friends and was truly happy for them while coveting their correspondence and when mine arrived I was on-the-fence about what it contained.  I opened it gingerly.  I skimmed as fast as I could.  I was in.  Now what happens?

What happened for me was the rest of the semester, a trip abroad, an accident, life-support, and recovery.  I gathered my supplies as quickly as I could afford them.  I bought books in lieu of all else.  65 students stepped into a journey of unknowns together. 

Five days a week our 2015 cohort shares space, ideas, thoughts and concerns.  We talk in depth about readings, lectures and videos.  Articles we saw, or radio interviews we feel compelled to share are passed around, facebooked, and bulletin-boarded.  But we don’t end there…  We share candid discussions about personal experiences, family concerns, worries about washing out of the program.  Our conversations and shared experiences no longer hover on the surface.  We are becoming.  Each day as we learn more about each other, we have the opportunity to learn more about ourselves and how we can support each other.  Little by little, we are transforming. 

Over the next few weeks we will move from being newbies in the campus setting to ‘student nurses’ in the field.  We will be carrying all of our strengths and skills with us as we practice, learn, grow and continue to transform personally and professionally into the nurses that we will one day be.


Healthcare Professionals Need to Be Trained in Human Trafficking

[IMPORTANT READ] Trading on innocence
Human sex trafficking a real-life horror story for country’s youth

Many people think sex trafficking happens only in third-world countries, but it’s also pervasive in the U.S. Nurses are in a prime position to identify possible victims of sex trafficking when they seek medical treatment in the ED, free clinics, physician offices and other locations. But too often those opportunities are missed.

For Additional Information:

Human Trafficking Awareness Training:  http://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/awareness-training

Interactive Online Trainings & Pre-recorded Webinars: http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline/access-training/online-training

Article: Human Trafficking Training Needs for Healthcare Professionals: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol2/iss1/8/


Education and Cancer: What are Your Rights?


September heralds a time of going back to school, shopping for school supplies, and excitement of seeing friends after the summer holidays.  But, for some children and parents, the fall brings additional questions.  Many children across the country are going through cancer treatments while in school – a situation that raises questions about how to balance school work and medical needs.  Thankfully, a number of laws, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), provide students with the right to receive accommodations and necessary special education.

The Cancer Legal Resource Center offers webinars and trainings regarding the legal rights of students with cancer.  This educational opportunity is provided by a long-time volunteer of the CLRC and made possible by a grant from the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles Foundation, 2012 Fran Kandel Public Interest Grant.

For additional information about the rights for students with cancer check out valuable information from the American Cancer Society.