Nursing to stop taking transfers

Come fall 2017, transfer students won’t be accepted into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program on the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus. The School of Nursing is phasing out transfer enrollment for the BSN program in an effort to improve graduation rates. Though the decision has been in the works for three years, nursing students are concerned the new strategy could be a blow to the program’s diversity and limit access to the program to a group of students who tend to switch out of the program. The school will admit fewer transfers, including those from inside the University, and more incoming freshmen over the next two years, said School of Nursing Associate Dean for Academic Programs Christine Mueller. Faculty members who made the change didn’t ask for student input, she said. By fall 2017, the entire incoming BSN class at the Twin Cities campus is expected to consist of 104 freshmen admits.  The University’s Rochester campus will still accept transfers, who do the same coursework as those on the school’s flagship campus.  Administrators want to provide students with the best resources possible to ensure they graduate in four years, Mueller said, adding that students who directly enroll in the BSN program are more likely to graduate on time.  Nursing senior Karen Maldonado drafted a petition to rescind the program change and organized a public forum last week where students could air their concerns to the school’s dean, Connie Delaney. “This policy as it stands now is not helpful to the School of Nursing, the future students or the nursing profession,” she said. “But I think with the right adjustments, it can help bring down the over-four-year graduation rate and the cost of attending nursing school.” About 20 people attended the forum, mostly sophomores and juniors in the BSN program, Maldonado said. Students largely took issue with the potential for a decline in student diversity as a result of the freshman nursing guarantee. They also voiced concerns about the lack of rigor in the freshman application process compared to the transfer one.  Despite student concerns, Mueller said, the new program is still on track for implementation. Twin Cities campus instructors give lessons to BSN students on the Rochester campus via television screens, which Maldonado said is troubling to some students because it limits teacher-to-student interaction. Maldonado’s petition, which has been in circulation for about two weeks, had garnered more than 270 signatures by Wednesday. Most of the names on the petition belong to sophomores and juniors in the BSN program. One of the petition’s signers is nursing sophomore Irina Galyayeva, who transferred into the BSN program last spring. When Galyayeva first learned of the change, she didn’t think it was real. “I don’t get why they’re doing this because they can gain a lot from those transfer students,” she said. Continue Reading

‘We can’t do this without you!’ Mayor Hodges sets her agenda in State of the City address

“One Minneapolis” was the central theme in Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges’s State of the City Address on April 2, at the American Swedish Institute, where she discussed how the community working together can address challenges the city of Minneapolis is currently facing.“The genius we have now, right here, will make us the great city of the 21st century if we are willing to do what it takes to make sure we leave none of that genius on the table,” Hodges said.In her second State of the City Address, Hodges made a call-to-action to encourage community leaders to become graduation coaches for young men. She wants to narrow the gap between low-income and middle class families through collective bargaining in the private sector. She wants to raise the minimum wage and launch the Minneapolis Climate Champs Challenge, which will provide steps and tips as to how citizens in Minneapolis can help stop climate change.“Minneapolis, the question before us now is how much genius are we going to leave on the table?” Hodges asked.Hodges set her sights on early education, bridging the divide when it comes to income inequality and addresses climate change.Education In order to efficiently use the genius of people in the community, Hodges said it starts when a child in the community is young. When it comes to youth development, Hodges cited the fact that 80% of a person’s brain is developed by the age of 3.“What we do for our kids early on matters,” Hodges said.The city will budget $1 million for housing so many children who are low-income, could have stable living conditions. She said the focus on child development is to make sure they are ready for the workforce; however, she also wants them to be engaged in their community.“We need our kids to be more than workforce ready, we needs kids who are ready to build one Minneapolis. Continue Reading

Hayden, Champion introduce legislation to address health disparities

eputy Majority Leader Sen. Jeff Hayden (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis) have introduced legislation to address alarming health disparities in the African American community. The authors have introduced three major pieces of legislation: SF1871 Partnerships for Healthy Futures a grant program to build community services and providers in order to identify, coordinate and expand opportunities for improving health outcomes for communities of color, SF1701 which will require health insurance coverage for colorectal cancer screenings for high risk populations, and SF1836 which will study and provide recommendations to decrease menthol cigarette usage by African Americans. “People of color, especially African Americans and American Indians, suffer from unique health disparities compared to the broader population,” Hayden said. “This package of bills focuses on intervention and prevention of some of the chronic challenges facing our constituents. Now is the time for action, it is time we pass legislation that gets at the entrenched causes and systemic inequity which has allowed our communities to suffer too long.””We have studied the disparities facing African American and American Indian populations again and again. I am looking forward to moving from discussion to action with these bills to address higher rates of cancer, assistance and resources for improving health outcomes, and discovering the root causes of extremely high rates of menthol cigarette smoking among African Americans,” Champion said. Continue Reading

Hospital workers picket Allina hospitals, calling for safe staffing levels

  Nearly 1,000 members of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and supporters walked an informational picket line yesterday at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, calling for safer staffing levels. “I’m here for our patients’ quality care as well as for health and safety for my co-workers,” said one of the picketers, Kalsang Dickey, Richfield, who has worked as a nursing assistant at Abbott Northwestern for 15 years.Contract negotiations are underway for about 3,000 hospital workers at Abbott-Northwestern and seven other hospitals owned by Allina Health: Buffalo, Mercy, Owatonna, St. Francis, United, Unity, and Phillips Eye Institute. The workers’ contract expired February 28.“Allina has cut staff at every hospital in the last three years, but we are still working the same or more hours and it means we are constantly understaffed,” Dickey said. “It’s hard for us to take care of patients.”Dickey works in the Mother Baby Center at Abbott-Northwestern and said sometimes only one nursing assistant is scheduled for the night shift. “If we have more nursing assistants, we can do a better job taking care of our patients’ needs.”SEIU Healthcare members also raised concerns about Allina proposals to subcontract hospital jobs and the impact on workers and patients.“If Allina executives subcontract hospital jobs like Dietary and Environmental Services to the lowest bidder, I think there will be higher turnover, less training, lower standards, and all of that will harm patient care,” warned Dawn Akkaya, SEIU Healthcare member who for 16 years has worked as nursing assistant and patient assistant coordinator at Abbott-Northwestern. Continue Reading

OLA: For public safety’s sake, Board of Nursing needs to react quicker

The Board of Nursing has taken too long to suspend nurses when there is a threat to public safety, according to an evaluation report released Thursday by the Office of the Legislative Auditor.The board has made better use of its authority to suspend nurses last year, when seven received suspensions. It will use the findings to support its ongoing work to improve efficiencies, Board President Deborah Haagenson told the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee.The auditor examined the board’s complaint resolution process after a series of 2013 media articles criticized nurses returning to practice following suspensions. Project Manager Jo Vos said half of the recommended changes affect the board, while the other changes would take legislative action.Among its in-depth look, Vos said the office looked at four characteristics of board actions: timeliness, fairness, consistency and reasonableness.Timeliness to process cases neededOn average, the board receives nearly 2,000 complaints per year, which amounts to about 1.5 percent of all licensed nurses in the state. Complaints can be categorized as practice related, such as making treatment mistakes, or more serious complaints such as drug or alcohol abuse/addiction.A majority of cases investigated are dismissed; others may include disciplinary action, such as a letter of reprimand in a personnel file; and the board may also opt for revoking a license.In substance abuse cases, a nurse has the option of self-reporting and entering an alternative disciplinary monitoring program called the Health Professionals Services Program.The program enables a nurse to continue practicing at some level during their recovery, with HPSP oversight for up to three years. There are varying reasons why a nurse may not finish the program, in which case HPSP notifies the board that the nurse is noncompliant and their license is suspended. Continue Reading

BREAST CANCER? POW! WHAP! TAKE THAT! The Breast Cancer Superhero Portrait Project Flies into a Minneapolis Gallery

I had never felt more powerless than when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My body, this husk that had held me, had betrayed me. While I was blithely going about my business, it was churning out malignant cells.   Cancer consumes so much of your energy; the treatment, yes, but also keeping the scary thoughts at bay. You walk around hoping that you’re one of the Lucky Ones. Even though you’re already an Unlucky One because It got you in the first place. Continue Reading

Growing the Herb: Marijuana and Indian Country

“I think that decriminalizing recreational use would benefit our people greatly since so many of us use it and many have been incarcerated for possessing it. The tribes certainly could gain by better controlling how it exists within our communities as well as financially with sales and possible taxation … We have retained aboriginal rights to utilize medicines within our communities the way we see fit.”Martin Reinhardt, Professor at Northern Michigan UniversityIt’s time to reconsider the regulation of marijuana and hemp. With the Pineole Pomo Tribe of California initiating the first tribal commercial marijuana grow operation and the Department of Justice’s announcement that it would not prosecute for marijuana or hemp, the door has been opened to look at the regulatory scheme. This December, Justice Department Director Monty Wilkinson announced, “The eight priorities in the Cole memorandum will guide United States Attorneys’ marijuana enforcement efforts in Indian Country, including in the event that sovereign Indian nations seek to legalize the cultivation or use of marijuana in Indian Country.”In turn, the Pomo tribe, which is located in Mendicino County, one of the largest marijuana growing counties in the country, announced a commercial venture with two partners, Colorado-based United Cannabis and Kansas-based FoxBarry Farms. The 250-member tribe announced that it will grow thousands of plants for the medical marijuana business on its 99-acre reservation.What’s the catch? There are a lot of them, especially in any states which have not yet legalized marijuana. Continue Reading

House considers uniform sexual assault policy for state’s colleges and universities

 Courtney Blake said the first time she was sexually assaulted, it took her more than a week and a half before she could muster the courage to report the incident to University of Minnesota authorities.“I was afraid of confirming what happened to me,” the university student told the House Higher Education Policy and Finance Committee on Tuesday. She supports HF742, which would require public and private universities and colleges across the state to enact uniform sexual assault prevention, reporting and victim support policies.Rep. Marion O’NeillSponsored by Rep. Marion O’Neill (R-Maple Lake), the bill would also mandate that such policies on sexual harassment and sexual violence apply to incidents occurring at activities, programs, organizations or events sponsored by post-secondary institutions.Approved by the committee, the bill was sent to the House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee. Its companion, SF1300, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Benson (R-Ham Lake), awaits action by the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.The bill would require postsecondary institutions to create an online reporting system through which students may report incidents — including anonymously — of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Blake said such a reporting tool would go a long way toward helping victims of sexual assault to take the important step of telling someone.Schools could not sanction students who make good faith reports of sexual harassment or violence for violating the institution’s student conduct policy on drugs and alcohol.A provision that would require new students to take a course on sexual assault prevention within 10 days of beginning class is included in the proposal.The bill strikes an important balance in ensuring accountability on behalf of colleges and its students without being overly burdensome to college campuses across the state that vary in size and resources, said Joelle Stangler, president of the University of Minnesota Student Association.“This really does support victims by making sure postsecondary institutions are doing all they can to work with law enforcement agencies to address this topic and provide resources,” Stangler said.Other provisions would require the following from all public and private postsecondary institutions recognized by the Office of Higher Education:comprehensive training on preventing and responding to sexual violence to campus security officers, campus administrators, and individuals responsible for receiving reports of sexual assault;a memorandum of understanding must be entered into with local law enforcement that details procedures for responding to allegations of sexual assault;collection and reporting a number of different pieces of data about sexual assault on campus.restricted access to the data collected through the online reporting system;a requirement that students complete an online training on sexual assault prior to registering for class;development and implementation of a policy that requires student health providers to screen students for incidents of sexual assault; anddesignation of an existing student health worker as a confidential advocate  Continue Reading