Beginning October 1, 2013, millions of Americans will have the opportunity to enroll in the new Healthcare Insurance Marketplace made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Are you wondering how the Affordable Care Act is making a difference in your state?
HHS is now accepting submissions for the Care Counts: Educating Women and Families Challenge. The Challenge offers an exciting opportunity to develop tools that inform women about enrollment in their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace as well as key provisions of the Affordable Care Act designed specifically to improve their health and that of their families.
Eligible entities include state, local, Tribal, or other non-governmental organizations. The categories for submission include (1) English language print, web-based, or social media, and (2) Spanish language print, web-based, or social media.
A total of $25,000 in prizes will be awarded to the First Place and Second Place winners in each language category, and winners will be recognized by HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.
Submissions are currently being accepted; the deadline is 11:00 PM ET on August 30, 2013.
To submit an entry or obtain additional information on the Care Counts: Educating Women and Families Challenge please visit http://www.carecounts.challenge.gov.
Support the Million Hearts Initiative
The Million Hearts sponsored by CDC is a national initiative launched in 2011 to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. This Initiative focuses on improving access to and quality of care, encouraging the public to lead healthier lifestyles, and guidance on using prescription medications. Learn more on how you can be “heart healthy” and become an active participant in the Million Hearts Initiative to reduce heart attacks and strokes by visiting http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/about_mh.html
Million Hearts has a variety of tools to share with your patients, including how to calculate risk for heart attacks and tracking and managing heart health. Other tools include:
Joseph Okyere, Cardiac Nurse, NURSE Corps Loan Repayor, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital, Corpus Christi, TX
Joseph Okyere, an immigrant to the United States from Ghana and a participant in the NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program, didn’t always know that he wanted to be a nurse, but he always knew he wanted to help people. After working in computer science and the clothing industry, Joseph worked at a fitness company in Columbus, OH and later Houston, TX. He was struck by his clients’ personal struggles to lose weight, some battling disabling chronic illness, and others with economic hardship. Joseph explains, “I saw a diverse patient population plagued with illness, and the passion to become a nurse became stronger. Some of these patients were the economic backbone of their families. I realized that to take care of a fellow human being, who you don’t know from Adam, takes a lot of empathy, passion, and caring. I knew this was my calling, and I wanted to make a difference.”
Joseph made a choice to pursue a degree in nursing. He was accepted to Texas A&M School of Nursing in Corpus Christi and was on course to fulfill his dream. After graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, Joseph recognized he could have earned a more competitive salary if he moved to a larger city, but he felt at home in Corpus Christi and saw the need within the community. The Loan Repayment Program enabled him to stay in Corpus Christi without moving to a larger city for a more competitive salary. Joseph decided to stay and currently works as a cardiac nurse at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital. He loves the philosophy of the hospital and its commitment to caring for the entire Coastal Bend community. “We treat people alike, regardless of race, income, or ability to pay; we make sure everyone receives the same care. It doesn’t matter whether you have a job or home - we help everyone and do whatever it takes to care for each patient.”
Joseph understands that caring for a patient means more than merely treating a condition. Sometimes it means holding their hand, helping their family members, or simply educating them about their illness in a way they can understand. Corpus Christi is a smaller community and Joseph often sees his patients outside the hospital. “People stop me in the grocery store all the time. They tell me, ‘Joseph. You probably don’t remember me, but you took care of me and helped me get back on my feet. Thank you for being there.’ It means so much to me to be able to help my patients – my fellow man. It encourages me to stay in this community and contribute in some way.”
Joseph believes for him, going into the nursing profession was no different than joining the pastoral ministry for others – it is a calling. Working in an underserved community has not only been personally fulfilling, but it has given Joseph a real understanding of his own community and the health care system in America. Joseph makes a difference for his patients each day, but he is the one who is grateful, “I am an immigrant from another country, and I am so happy to give back as best as I can to Corpus Christi.” Nursing in Corpus Christi is a far cry from computer science in Ghana, but Joseph has definitely found a place that is close to his heart.
NURSE Corps Scholarship Program
NURSE Corps Loan Repayment Program
Basic Eligibility Requirements
1. Applicants must have submitted all required In-Service Verifications in the Customer Service Portal.
2. Applicants must currently be working at the eligible CSF or accredited school of nursing listed in the Customer Service Portal.
3. Applicants must retain a current full, permanent, unencumbered, unrestricted license.
4. Applicants must be working full time (at least 32 hours per week).
5. Applicants must have applied their payments to the original qualifying education loans indicated on the Payment Authorization Worksheet.
Continuation Application Tips
Read the Continuation Application and Program Guidance before starting the application process.
Start early – the application cycle is open for 5 weeks (August 6 through September 12).
All FY 2014 continuation applicants will receive notification regarding the status of their award by September 30, 2014.
This summer, your NURSE Corps Customer Service Portal experience will be enhanced through a new fully-automated service request tool. This new functionality will allow you to apply for changes to your service hours or site assignment(s) by submitting all the necessary information online for NURSE Corps to review.
In celebration of National Nurses Week in May 2013, HRSA created a special infographic that contains some interesting information about trends in the nursing workforce; be sure to check it out and share it with others.
NURSE Corps’ sister program, the National Health Service Corps, is celebrating its 3rd Annual Corps Community Day on October 10, 2013. Find out how you can get involved in events being planned all around the country to celebrate primary care in underserved communities.