PNS Daily Newscast - September 24 

Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

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Honoring Nebraska's Most Trusted Profession

A recent survey ranked Nebraska as the 17th best state for nurses to work. (Twenty20)
A recent survey ranked Nebraska as the 17th best state for nurses to work. (Twenty20)
May 7, 2018

LINCOLN, Neb. — May 6-12 is National Nurses Week, and folks around the state are honoring Nebraska's nearly 23,000 registered nurses.

Gallup polling has identified nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics for 17 consecutive years. Executive director of the Nebraska Board of Nursing Ann Oertwich explained it's a job that requires unique skills and dedication.

"I think sometimes people think that nurses are easily replaced by folks without licenses,” Oertwich said. “And the education and training that goes into being a nurse is above and beyond, and provides so much more than nurses are often given credit for."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in Nebraska earn on average $62,000 a year. And a recent WalletHub survey ranked the state 17th on its list of best and worst states for nurses to work.

Oertwich explained that nurses are truly on the front lines of care, and well positioned to assess and help address chronic health care problems such as the opioid epidemic.

"Whether it's in the emergency room, even on the street or in the grocery store, nurses are out there amongst the people living and working, and really can detect changes and trends in what's happening,” she said. “And the opioid crisis is a great example of that."

The American Nurses Association has developed resources to help nurses identify and manage patients battling addiction. President of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Jennifer Doyle, said that includes educating patients on the proper use of medication for pain management, as well as non-drug alternatives.

"For any person undergoing surgery, we're trying - as health care in general - trying to send patients home with less opiate medicine, not to expect that you're going to go home with two months worth of opiates,” Doyle explained.

National Nurses Week concludes on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE