Here’s a brief Friday update on health care news and nursing matters of interest.

Latest nursing workforce sample survey results.

The newly released results of the 2018 National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses (produced by the Health Resources and Services Administration) will interest nurses and others for a variety of reasons. A few details:

  • Telehealth becoming an essential tool: In 2018, 50.3 percent of nurses used telehealth in their practice in some capacity. This number will continue to grow.
  • Diversity increases: as summarized by the Campaign for Action, “the percentage of the RN workforce that is Hispanic has almost tripled, from 3.6 percent to 10.2 percent. There has also been a notable increase in the percent of black RNs and a decrease in the percent of white RNs in the past decade.”
  • Education level increases: Also, again according to the Campaign for Nursing, “RNs who have bachelor and higher degrees has increased from 50 percent in 2008 to 64 percent in 2018.”
  • More men: The gender imbalance in nursing has changed for the better, as well, though by no means radically: “Male RNs in 2018 represented 9.6 percent of the nursing population, up from 7.1 percent in the 2008 study.”

The novel coronavirus.

The novel coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China, was declared a World Health Emergency by the World Health Organization on Thursday; 2019n-CoV continues to hover near the top of the news as the disease spreads, the United States advises citizens not to travel to China, and experts worldwide race to understand such essential issues as how transmissible the virus is, its incubation period, and other questions with profound implications.

For some fundamentals, see last week’s post by our clinical editor, Betsy Todd, who is a nurse epidemiologist and urges nurses to look to fundamentals of infection control.

Americans think of themselves as healthy.

This may or may not come as a surprise, but “seven out of 10 Americans rate their health-related behaviors and attitudes as good or excellent, according to a survey released Jan. 27 by the American Osteopathic Association.” Read a summary here and here.

Medicaid block grants: more uncertainties for a basic safety net program.

The new Trump administration plan to allow states to opt out of federal Medicaid funding in exchange for fixed block grants payments that come with far fewer restrictions on spending choices opens the door to a vast range of possible spending experiments by individual states.

It also means a range of new uncertainties about what drugs and other aspects of care are covered (for example, cancer drugs, types of insulin, etc.), what care will cost (copays are expected to have fewer limits), who will provide care (less oversight of private companies is required under the new model), and who will be covered (while coverage may expand to some groups, the sickest and most vulnerable may lose coverages in some states).

For a brief and informative breakdown, read this Kaiser Health News piece.

AJN February issue live.

Also note that our February issue is now live, with a broad range of articles, from Viewpoints and the monthly Reflections essay to new CE features and much more.