Spring has sprung
Welcome spring and welcome to nurses! I am not sure if the weather is spring like but the calendar is telling us its time. I like the word spring. It is positive and represents change and newness and excitement. For me, this time of year is a chance to spring forward and put the winter and dismal feelings behind me. What great timing for the new health care reform to be signed around the time of spring coming in! It is a hot topic for sure and it definitely represents change. No matter one’s opinion on it, the health care reform does include some changes for the nursing profession. I wrote an article focusing on just one of the effects of this new bill. And along with warmer weather comes the shedding of those winter clothes. Wearing fewer clothes makes many of us a bit more self-conscious. I have been noticing that obesity is the focus of many news stories lately. There are some grim statistics about obesity that everyone should read. Enjoy the beginning of a wonderful season of change and bloom.
As always nurses, please feel free to send in any articles or thoughts you may have and they may get published in our next newsletter.
Nurses and the Health Care Reform
When the Health Care Reform Bill was signed into law by President Obama on Tuesday, March 23, 2010, it signaled a new beginning for nurse-led health care. HR 3590, as the package is called, capitalizes on the ability of nurse practitioners to provide both the primary and the preventative care. This health care reform package includes an unprecedented investment in nurse-led health clinics.
Nurse managed health clinics will be crucial to delivering quality health care where primary care physicians are in short supply. These nurse managed health centers, called NMHC's, are led by advanced practice nurses also known as nurse practitioners. The NMHC's provide primary care and disease prevention services to people who are least likely to be receiving ongoing quality health care. This population includes the uninsured, underinsured, poverty stricken or members of all racial and ethnic minority groups.
Experts have been repeatedly expressing concern about the nation's supply of primary care physicians and its ability to meet the needs of a nation with Universal Health Care. The health care reform will extend coverage to as many as 30 million uninsured Americans which will put a great strain on our present health care system. "The current shortage of primary care physicians is likely to increase during the next twenty years, resulting in a shortage of as many as 44,000 physicians in the fields of general internal medicine and family medicine by the year 2025," says Tina Hansen-Turton, MGA, JD, Chief Executive Officer of the National Nursing Centers Consortium (NNCC). "NNCC applaud the passage of health care reform and looks forward to working with the government to ensure a smooth implementation process."
Another group that advocates for health care reform is the American Nursing Association (ANA). For more than twenty years, the ANA has been cheering on the health care reforms that will guarantee quality health care for all. With rising costs for healthcare and the increasing numbers of people that are going without health insurance, the national consensus can agree that the health care system is broken as is and needs to be fixed. Any reasonable solution must ensure that the supply of nurses is adequate to make universal access to care a reality. The American Nursing Association proudly represents the nursing profession at health care summits and forums. The ANA communicates with lawmakers, the Obama Administration and the media to deliver nursing's message and develop solutions that make sense for everyone.
Nurses, along with the rest of the country, will have to wait and see what comes from this new health care package. But everyone can agree that nurses will be an integral part of the country's health care and its success.
Obesity in the news
Obesity is in the news. It is the focus of shows for television and the subject of many talk shows. Magazine covers illustrate the problem and it's not pretty. The World Health Organization considers obesity a global epidemic and a serious health problem. Obesity is now reported to be the second leading cause of a preventable death after smoking. It is spreading at an alarming rate, not only in industrialized countries but also in developing countries where it actually coexists with malnutrition.
In fact, current trends show that obesity is estimated to affect 18% of the global population; this is an increase of 50% over the past seven years. This figure translates to approximately 300 million obese adults worldwide and many more are overweight. What are the differences between obese and overweight? The terms are often used interchangeably but there are marked differences between the two. Obesity refers to excess body fat while overweight refers to excess weight for height which may come from muscle, bone fat or water.
The most alarming statistic is that the World Health Organization estimates that about 22 million children under five years old are overweight. Obesity among children has reached epidemic proportions. This is a real concern since this figure puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes later in life. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults and to experience chronic health problems that are associated with adult obesity.
The current epidemic of obesity cannot be explained by genetics or a failure in personal discipline or a psychological upbringing. It is primarily associated with the modern way of life that promotes excessive food intake and discourages physical activity. A new study that appears in the journal Pediatrics suggests that pre-school age children are likely to have a lower risk of obesity if the regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family at least six nights a week, getting at least ten hours of sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing to two hours a day.
What are the implications for nurses? Nurses have an ideal opportunity to promote healthy activities in order to reduce the risks of being overweight or obese. For effective prevention treatment, nurses should consider the psychosocial and cultural dynamics that affect health behaviors as well as patient readiness and motivation to change. Nurses are encouraged to promote healthy family lifestyle patterns to help reduce the risk of obesity at all stages of human development
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