Child Abuse: What You Need to Know (July 8)

“Child Abuse: What You Need to Know” will be offered July 8, 2015 at Cedar Crest College in Oberkotter 1 Room. This session is offered from 12 – 3 pm. This event is FREE to PSNA members; $70 for non-members; $20 for no CE awarded / RDs / non-licensed nursing students. This offering is a State-approved live program that covers required information including how to identify and report child abuse. This meets requirements for any currently mandated reporters and initial licensees. 3.5 CNE is awarded.

Register HERE.

Child Abuse: What You Need to Know

“Child Abuse: What You Need to Know” will be offered June 10, 2015 at Philhaven Hopsital in Lebanon County. There will be two sessions offered: 8:30 am – 12 pm AND 12:30 – 3 pm. This event is FREE to PSNA members; $70 for non-members; $20 for no CE awarded; $20 for non-licensed nursing students. This offering is a State-approved live program that covers required information including how to identify and report child abuse. This meets requirements for any currently mandated reporters and initial licensees. 3.5 CNE is awarded.

AM session link:


PM session link:

CNO of the Commonwealth

In May 2015, HB 389 Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) of the Commonwealth was passed in the House (final passage 187-6). HB 389 adds language establishing the office of the CNO of the Commonwealth within the Department of Health.

The CNO shall be appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. HB 389 requirements states that the CNO will:

  • be a practicing RN licensed by the Commonwealth,
  • be an RN with an unencumbered license,
  • have at least 10 years of working experience as an RN and
  • have a master’s degree in nursing or a master’s degree in public health.

Strong leadership is critical to realizing a transformed health care system in the Commonwealth.  Nurse leaders working in collaboration with other health care professionals is a key strategy for achieving innovative health care. To achieve this, RNs must actively serve on committees, commissions and boards. These committees often include Governor-appointed cabinet officials, but lack the engagement of the largest segment of health care providers — the RNs. The development of the role of HB 389 CNO of the Commonwealth is a significant step in achieving this goal.

Population Health Education

Join PSNA District 27 at Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg on June 4, 2015 (5 pm) for a “Population Health and the Nursing Profession.” This presentation will be led by Dr. Aislynn Moyer, DNP, RN. Dr. Moyer is coordinator of the population health certificate program at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. The certificate program is an interprofessional educational program that helps all members of the health care team understand how to engage patients toward better health through empowerment. The team-based approach is unique to health care education and has had great success with results being published in national journals as well as showcased at interprofessional conferences. This session awards 1.0 CNE. Learn more here.

Safe Staffing Act

The American Nurses Association (ANA) commends Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and David Joyce (R-OH) for introducing the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act. This bill would require Medicare-participating hospitals to establish registered nurse (RN) staffing plans using a committee, comprised of a majority of direct care nurses, to ensure patient safety, reduce re-admissions and improve nurse retention.

Endorsed by ANA, the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act (H.R. 2083/ S. 1132) presents a balanced approach to ensure adequate RN staffing by recognizing that direct care nurses, working closely with managers, are best equipped to determine the staffing level for their patients. Without the necessary nurse coverage, patients risk longer hospital stays, increased infections, avoidable medication errors, falls, injuries and even death.

The bill’s sponsors chair Congress’ Nursing Caucus, Merkley in the Senate and Capps and Joyce jointly in the House. The Nursing Caucus educates lawmakers on issues significant to the profession and patients, and the impact of nurses on the health care system.

“Optimal nurse staffing could mean the difference between a patient surviving or dying,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “Research tells us it’s that crucial. If you or your loved one were in the hospital, you’d want to be certain that the hospital was continually setting, evaluating and adjusting its nursing coverage to meet your changing needs and the conditions of all patients. That is what this legislation seeks to ensure.”

Research has shown that higher staffing levels by experienced RNs are linked to lower rates of patient falls, infections, medication errors and even death. One study showed the likelihood of overall patient mortality (in-hospital death) and mortality following a complication increases by 7 percent for each additional patient added to the average RN workload.

When unanticipated events happen in a hospital resulting in patient death, injury, or permanent loss of function, inadequate nurse staffing often is cited as a contributing factor.

In setting staffing plans, the Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act considers:

  • RN educational preparation, professional certification and level of clinical experience.
  • The number and capacity of available health care personnel, geography of a unit and available technology.
  • Intensity, complexity and stability of patients.


It also includes these patient protection, reporting, investigation and enforcement provisions:

  • RNs would not be forced to work in units where they are not trained or experienced without orientation.
  • Procedures for receiving and investigating complaints.
  • Potential for civil monetary penalties imposed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services for each known violation.
  • Whistleblower protections.
  • Public reporting of staffing information.


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ANA is the only full-service professional organization representing the interests of the nation’s 3.1 million registered nurses through its constituent and state nurses associations and its organizational affiliates. ANA advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the rights of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Congress and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.

Patients At Risk

Auditor General Eugene De Pasquale’s review of the Department of Labor and Industry’s (L&I) oversight of Act 102 “Prohibition of Excessive Overtime in Health Care Act” concluded that L&I missed deadlines for establishing regulations and failed to accurately record, investigate and respond to related complaints. L&I was scheduled to begin enforcing Act 102 for all health care facilities in July 2009.

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA), representing more than 218,000 registered nurses in Pennsylvania, was one of many health care organizations that worked toward successful passage of Act 102. This Act prohibits a health care facility from requiring employees to work more than agreed to, predetermined and regularly scheduled work shifts. Employees covered under Act 102 are individuals involved in direct patient care or clinical care services who receive an hourly wage or who are classified as non-supervisory employees for collective bargaining purposes.

“Over the last several years, PSNA has heard numerous complaints from both RNs and patients regarding non-compliance in overtime hours,” stated PSNA Chief Executive Officer Betsy M. Snook, MEd, BSN, RN. “Mandated overtime for nursing staff is dangerous to patient care. We are not surprised by the audit’s outcome and look forward to working with L&I Secretary Kathy Manderino to ensure future compliance.”

Nurses Event: Pittsburgh Pirates

Mark your calendar for a Nurses Week event with the Pittsburgh Pirates. PSNA, ANA and the Pirates will be hosting a Nurses Week FREE CE webinar on “Ethical Practice and Quality Care” at PNC Park followed by an evening game — all for under $40! Check in 2:30 – 3:30 pm / Webinar 3:30 – 4:30 pm / Game 5:30 pm.  Family and friends are welcome to attend the game! To reserve your seats and order your game tickets, contact Melissa at 412-325-4761 or at Tickets include a $10 concession voucher. $30 / Grandstand   ;   $36 / Lower Outfield


Medical Cannabis: The Debate

Medical cannabis legislation has been a lingering debate in our nation’s history. In Pennsylvania, it is one with no definitive resolution in sight – and that may be a good thing. Why is that? Because it gives us time to get it right. In 2014, the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) supported original medical cannabis legislation because it was (1) strictly monitored, (2) tightly controlled and (3) medically prescribed. A recent amendment to the current legislation, Senate Bill 3, has weakened its focus on the patient by becoming cost prohibitive and hindering inter-collaborative practice by health care teams.

Research shows that inter-professional collaboration in practice decreases overall health care costs while increasing quality outcomes. While the original legislation defined practitioners to include the entire health care team, SB 3 now defines a health care practitioner strictly as MD or a doctor of osteopathic medicine. This change perpetuates both access to and patient cost of care.

Many patients with qualifying conditions are experiencing limited resources – both monetary and medical – and this bill will further increase their costs. SB 3 calls for patients to pay a fee to obtain an Access card while not providing reimbursement or financial assistance for the cannabis itself. In addition, SB 3 no longer protects patients and providers from criminal prosecution, civil liabilities and/or professional sanctioning.

PSNA takes seriously our social and ethical responsibility of advocating for the nurses of Pennsylvania and the patients for whom we care. As amended, PSNA does not support SB 3.

Medical Cannabis Opposition

The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA), representing more than 218,000 registered nurses in Pennsylvania, stated that they will not support Senate Bill 3 PN 793, “Reintroduction of Medical Cannabis”, after an amendment was approved on April 21, 2015 by the  Senate State Government Committee. As currently written, Senate Bill 3 PN 793 is no longer patient-centered with nurses as key members of the care team.

In January 2014, PSNA was the first health care association to support SB 1182, “Medical Cannabis,” introduced by Senators Mike Folmer and Daylin Leach. SB 1182 was model legislation that was strictly monitored, tightly controlled and medically prescribed. SB 1182 allowed for registered nurses to dispense medical cannabis, which is ideal in a health care environment that faces a physician shortage.

“Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis legislation originally focused on patient-centered care,” states PSNA Chief Executive Officer Betsy M. Snook, MEd, RN, BSN. “Not only did it provide patients with safe access to therapeutic cannabis for symptom management of intractable medical conditions, but it also protected both patients and health care providers from criminal prosecution, civil liabilities and/or professional sanctioning. Finally, it provided for the establishment of efficient drug delivery, growing and dispensing systems, including registered nurses as dispensers.”

Senate Bill 3 PN 793 no longer contains the provisions that initiated PSNA to support the previous version of the bill. PSNA and the American Nurses Association (ANA) have supported patients’ rights to legally and safely utilize medical marijuana for symptom management of intractable diseases and their sequelae and will continue to advocate doing so.


The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association (PSNA) is the non-profit voice for nurses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Representing more than 218,000 nurses, PSNA leads, advocates, educates and connects with registered nurses across the Commonwealth. PSNA is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association.